Damage to your rented home

Wear and tear

Your landlord should not charge you or deduct money from 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 threadbare carpet at the start of your tenancy might 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 your home but your landlord can't expect it to be returned in exactly the same state as when you moved in.

Accidental damage

Tell your landlord if you accidentally damage any of the furniture or fittings in your rented home.

If your landlord agrees you can make or arrange the repair or replacement, get receipts for work done and items you buy.

Use your inventory to record details of damage you repair with the landlord's agreement.

If you leave your tenancy without fixing damage, your landlord could deduct money from your deposit or take legal action to cover the cost.

Your landlord can take action to evict you if you or anyone 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 was not your fault.

This could include:

  • leaks from a neighbouring flat

  • 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. If they do not, your landlord can take action to recover the cost of work from the neighbour. 

It is not your landlord's responsibility to replace any of your belongings that are damaged for this reason.

You can ask your neighbour for compensation. If they will not pay, you can take court action.

Damage due to crime

It's usually the landlord's responsibility to repair damage caused by a crime.

Examples include:

  • 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. Report 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 damage your belongings.

Insurance for tenants

You can insure yourself and your belongings against accidental or criminal damage in the home.

The Go Compare Guide to Tenants' Insurance has more.

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person.


Last updated: 30 May 2018

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