What is natural wear and tear?

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Natural wear and tear includes the depreciation of an object that happens inevitably over time. For example, the interior decoration of the apartment, equipment, and furniture. Even with the best intentions, it is not possible to maintain the original condition forever. Therefore, the landlord must always take into account that their property needs repairs from time to time, the household appliances need to be repaired or the furniture replaced. This is the cost of being a landlord in addition to earning a monthly income.

Compensation for repairs related to natural wear and tear cannot be claimed from the tenant. The tenant must compensate for damage to the property, such as if something is broken or smeared. The most common practice, as shown by the decisions by the court and tenancy commission, is that the landlord must take natural depreciation into account when calculating the rent before concluding an agreement.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, a thorough deed of handover-acceptance must be made upon the handover of the rental space, and expectations must be discussed as openly as possible as well as written down in the deed as mutual agreements. Rental insurance does not cover compensation for losses caused by natural wear and tear.

Additional information: In 2021, a new Law of Obligations Act entered into force, which allows the landlord and the tenant to agree that upon the termination of the agreement wherein the tenant will return the dwelling to a condition, where the wear and tear/deterioration caused by normal use has been eliminated, or the tenant will bear the necessary costs. The agreement must be in writing at the same time as the rental agreement is concluded. Otherwise, this is not valid. This amendment to the law is relatively recent and, in practice, such agreements are rarely applied.