Dirt is not fair wear and tear. Deterioration of the sealant over time is fair wear and tear – regardless of how often it is cleaned, the sealant will over time dry out, rot and crack. The Association of Independant Inventory Clerks (AIIC) guidelines on this topic are as follows:

Bath sealants will also discolour and blacken. Depending on the length of the tenancy this will be a wear and tear issue and for any tenancy longer than one year it is considered to be the landlord’s responsibility to renew bath sealant periodically… If bath sealant and grouting is blackened after tenancies of less than one year then this usually indicates tenant neglect – unless the property suffers from a provable history of excessive damp/mould.

We would reasonably expect sealant to last longer than one year and in making a decision on whether this has been caused by tenant neglect it may be best to judge this within the context of how well the tenant has looked after the rest of the property. Whether the lack of cleaning contributed to the decay of the sealant is subjective and would be difficult to prove.

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