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Fair Wear and Tear During Leasing - Explained

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Fair wear and tear is important whenever we talk about leased cars. This is as their condition undergoes some form of decline after having been used by the drivers. Damaging a leased car does mean that you have to pay some sort of penalty when returning it.

However, you don’t have to pay for fair wear and tear, according to the BVRLA. This is because this is the expected outcome after a vehicle has been in use for the lease period. You should know that there are a couple of guidelines for what is actually covered here.

The following is all you need to know about fair wear and tear for leased cars:

Fair wear and tear meaning

Wear and tear is a common term used to denote any forms of deterioration that occurs during an item’s usage. If we look at cars, most of their components are specifically designed for long-term use. But what is the fair wear and tear definition?

Well, according to the Fair Wear and Tear Act in the UK, it is limited to the “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant (the car lessee in this case) and the ordinary operation of natural forces.”

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) defines it as “when normal usage causes deterioration to a vehicle”. This means that it is the amount of damage that you can expect from normal ownership habits.

Hence, any form of excess damage to the car due to carelessness isn’t covered. As a result, any sort of deterioration from accidents, or overloading the vehicle will cost you when the lease term is over. Although less pricey, this is similar to the penalties when ending a car lease early.

Examples of fair wear and tear

People often tend to be more careful with leased vehicles as they’re afraid of being penalized for the damage. It should be known that there are some imperfections, which are acceptable to lease providers. They are the following:

  • Light scratches on the lights, the windscreen, or the wheels
  • Modest tyre wear; car should still be legal to drive on British roads based on the tyres’ condition
  • Slight stains on the upholstery, but without any tears

Chips, dents, deep scratches, and any sort of damage incurred from hitting the car are not passable, unfortunately. That being said, different lease deals can have their own criteria for judging this sort of thing. Hence, it is imperative that you read about what’s acceptable on your lease contract.

BVRLA guidelines

The aforementioned section gives you an idea of what fair wear and tear is. If your car lease provider is going to assess the condition of the car via the BVRLA fair wear and tear guide, there are three possible options here, based on the type of vehicle you have. The BVRLA has guides for cars, light commercial vehicles, and heavy commercial vehicles; all of them leased.

Penalty for exceeding fair wear and tear

Using a leased vehicle roughly and damaging it beyond what’s acceptable to the lease provider can be a pricey affair when the lease term is over. According to Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, the average penalty in 2020 was 326 GBP.

Lease car maintenance

The best way to save yourself from these charges is to take good care of the leased car. This doesn’t just mean keeping it clean and free from any dents, but it also means following the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance and usage.

Also, it is best that you have the car inspected for the damage a week or two before the lease term ends. You need to make sure that it is in the best condition to save you from any heavy lease penalties.

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