Property Investment News | Accidental Damage Vs Wear and Tear

Accidental Damage V’s Normal Wear and Tear

Here’s a quick guide to the difference between accidental damage, malicious damage, deliberate damage and wear and tear.

A common query we often receive from Landlords is ‘what is accidental damage and how is this different to malicious damage, deliberate damage and/or wear and tear?’ From an insurance viewpoint, we define them as per below:

Accidental Damage
An unexpected or sudden loss. This is generally something that is an accident and not planned or intentional. Examples include spills on carpet and damage to furniture.


Malicious Damage
Damage which was motivated by spite, malice or vindictiveness with the intention of causing damage. Examples include holes kicked/punched in walls and doors, graffiti and doors knocked off their hinges. A police report is required for malicious damage claims.

Deliberate Damage
An act that will alter the current state of an item, however the act is carried out without any spite, malice or vindictiveness. An example is putting picture hooks into walls without permission. This is not a vindictive act, it is however a deliberate action but generally with the intent of making the property more homely.


Wear and tear
Damage which occurs naturally and inevitably simply because people reside in the property. Wear and tear occurs just as much in an owner occupied property as it does in a rental property and may include scuff marks on walls, carpet in walkways appearing worn, small marks on lino etc.

Another area of contention sometimes can be ‘poor housekeeping’. This is where a tenant maintains a property in a poor condition but where no damage has occurred. This can include tenants who do not clean up after themselves, who don’t air their house, who don’t regularly clean areas such as carpets, ovens and bathrooms etc.

Wear and tear and poor housekeeping are not generally covered in an insurance policy, even where a property may be brand new prior to being occupied by tenants.

A Property Manager can monitor this during routine inspections and outline to the tenants at the outset of the Lease the expectations of cleanliness, maintaining the property etc. Ensure that they are aware that any damages or maintenance is reported to the office immediately and that these are rectified in a timely manner.

Landlords should expect fair wear and tear to their property, as would happen in any home that is being lived in.

If you have any questions, or need clarification on any of the above, please contact Anna Marten, our Head of Property Management, on 9651 1666 or

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