What is “Fair Wear and Tear”?

One of the most important aspects of leasing a car is looking after it. When you first receive your car, you should be given a copy of the BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guide, either from your broker or the leasing company itself.

The BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guide is the industry standard of which your car will be judged on when you return it to the finance house at the end of your agreement.

But, what is ‘Fair Wear and Tear’?

In this article, we are going to look at what counts as fair wear and tear, what happens if you incur charges and how to dispute them.

Who are the BVRLA?

The BVRLA are the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association. They are the leading trade association for the rental and leasing sector. The BVRLA was formed in 1967 and its members buy nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the UK.

The BVRLA set the industry standard for the rental and leasing sector. They also lobby the government on things that may affect the industry and they shape policy and regulation changes.

As of January 2017, the BVRLA had over 900 members. You can read more about what the BVRLA do here.

What is the BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guide?

The BVRLA also produce Fair Wear and Tear Guides. They produce three guides:

  • Cars
  • LCVs and minibus
  • HGVs

The aim of these guides is to provide an industry-wide accepted standard that defines fair wear and tear for when you return your car after your lease agreement ends. They also provide best practice for vehicle maintenance to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

What is Fair Wear and Tear?

Fair Wear and Tear, defined by the BVRLA, ‘occurs when normal usage causes deterioration to a vehicle’.

Essentially, it’s the slight damage that happens to your car when you drive it every day for three years. No one is expecting you to return your car looking exactly like it did when you received it, that would be borderline impossible. Fair Wear and Tear outlines what is acceptable in terms of damage and what isn’t.

There are multiple headings in which fair wear and tear is judged on. These include:

  • General appearance, documentation and keys
  • Windows and glass
  • Paintwork, vehicle body, bumpers and trim
  • Mechanical condition
  • Equipment and controls
  • Vehicle interior

BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guide

What happens at the end of my lease contract?

When your lease contract is coming to an end you will normally have an inspection, however it does depend on the lease company. This will either happen a week before your car is due to go back or it will happen on the day your car goes back. Ideally, you will want it to happen a week before but it all depends on the finance house.

If your car is inspected the week before then the inspector will tell you if there is anything that you need to get fixed. You will then have a week to get it fixed before your car goes back. If your car is inspected on the day, however, then you will not have this advantage.

If you do incur charges, then you will be sent an invoice shortly after your car has gone back, which you will then have to pay.

Can I dispute the charges?

If you think that you have been unfairly charged for damage to your vehicle then you can dispute the charges. You can also take your dispute to the BVRLA who will rule whether you should be charged or not, and their word is final.

We would recommend taking photos of your car, inside and out, before the inspection. Make sure these photos have a time and date stamp. Should you get charged and want to dispute it then it will help to have the photos to back you up. You can read more about avoiding damage charges on your lease car here. You can also read about what happens if you damage your lease car here.

In conclusion, fair wear and tear is essentially the guidelines for what condition your car should be in before it goes back to the finance house. If you are in doubt about anything regarding this then we recommend referring to your BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guide.

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