If you accidentally damage something in your rented home, you probably have to pay for repairs.
Normal wear and tear
Your landlord should not charge you or take money from your tenancy deposit because of normal wear and tear.
Wear and tear is caused by day-to-day living, for example:
- a brand new carpet would show signs of use
- a carpet that was threadbare at the start of your tenancy might now have worn through
- window frames might have peeling paint due to wind and rain
There could also be cracks in plaster or faded wallpaper or paint.
You must look after a rented home, but your landlord can't expect it to be returned in exactly the same state as it was when you moved in.
Find out about deductions your landlord is allowed to make from your deposit.
Tenant's responsibility for accidental damage
Contact your landlord if you accidentally damage any of the furniture or fittings in your rented home.
If the landlord agrees that you can make or arrange the repair or replacement, get receipts for any work done and for any items you buy.
Use your inventory to record details of any damage you repair with the landlord's agreement.
Tell your landlord if you replace or repair a damaged item to avoid problems with your tenancy deposit.
If you leave your tenancy without trying to fix the problem, your landlord could deduct money from your deposit or take legal action against you to cover the cost of the damage.
Your landlord can take action to evict you if you or anyone else in your household deliberately damages your home.
Accidental damage caused by neighbours
It's usually your landlord's responsibility to repair damage caused by an accident that wasn't your fault.
Examples include leaks from a neighbouring flat or damage to the roof or windows caused by a neighbour's building works.
Your landlord may have insurance cover that includes accidental damage to the building.
It is not your landlord's responsibility to replace any of your belongings that are damaged accidentally.
Damage due to crime
It's usually the landlord's responsibility to repair damage caused by a crime.
- windows broken by a burglar
- vandalism in a shared area such as a garden or hallway
If your home has been damaged by crime, contact the police and ask for a crime report number.
Tell your landlord if there has been criminal damage to your home. Report any repairs you need and give your landlord a reasonable time to fix the problem.
It is not your landlord's responsibility to replace any of your belongings that are stolen or damaged through crime.
Damage due to repair problems
Your landlord is responsible for fixing the problem if your home is damaged by a repair problem or works arranged by your landlord.
You can take your landlord to court for compensation if repair problems have damaged any of your personal belongings.
Find out more about claiming compensation for disrepair.
Insurance for tenants
As a tenant, you can insure yourself and your belongings against accidental or criminal damage in the home.
See the Go Compare Guide to Tenants' Insurance for further information.
Your landlord should have their own insurance to cover the property and its fixtures and fittings.
Get advice from Shelter
Get advice if your landlord wants to charge you for damage you think you shouldn't have to pay for.
Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.
Last updated 06 Jan 2016 | © Shelter