Discerning Wear & Tear vs. Negligence


Did you have a party and accidentally break the toilet? In terms of damages, there is an important difference between negligence versus  normal wear and tear. Every now and then, even if you’re careful, things will break. Your landlord has a responsibility of maintaining that everything in the dwelling is functioning. This may not apply if something broke out of negligence. However, sometimes landlords like to make tenants believe they have been negligent in order to pass on the responsibility of repairs. Keep in mind that it is the tenant’s responsibility to inform the landlord when repairs are needed. If this is not done, the damage may get worse and thus result in negligence on the part of the tenant.


  1. Think about the sequence of events resulting in something breaking. Did you throw a brick through the window or were you simply closing it? Did you bring a saw to the handle on your front door or did it break due to constant use?
  2. If you do not think you were being negligent then write your landlord a demand letter stating that something is broken and needs fixing.