What is considered to be normal wear and tear?
What are the criteria for determining what is normal wear and tear when subletting in Sweden? We get the question daily and the answer is both very clear cut and diffuse. Per Swedish rental law, the tenant is allowed to cause damage that can be associated with living in the property. Such as putting up pictures, having a couch against a wall, etc. However, the tenant may not cause damage that can be attributed to being careless or negligent.
Lets return to the couch that is leaning against the wall. If said couch causes a mark because its position, it is considered normal wear and tear. However, if the same couch has been moved around excessively without putting protectors on its legs and scratches the floor, it would be considered excessive wear and tear and the tenant would be liable. The law and guidelines are both clear and subjective at the same time.
Examples of excessive wear and tear that have been tried in the courts:
- Broken windowpane
- Broken toilet
- Marks on floor or walls due to children drawing
- Odor in property due to smoking
- Wallpapering or painting interiors without written permission.
- Grease stains on wallpaper
- Damage on floors due to tenant not putting protectors on furniture legs.
- Flower pots that made marks on the floor due to moisture leaking through
Regardless subjectivity, it is always the landlord's responsibility to produce proof of the damage. Otherwise it simply becomes, "he said, she said" and the landlord will lose his/hers case. Therefore, it is critical to put together a legally binding inspection report that both parties sign at move-in. Read more about how to do a proper move-in inspection.
More about the rental law. https://lagen.nu/1970:994