Presently disagreeing with a letting agent responsible for a property I recently moved out of over a large wall crack. This crack was there (albeit smaller) when we took residence, and it has become worse over the tenancy period.

So far as we know we've done nothing to exacerbate the issue, but the agent and their contractor is adamant this is our fault: "... the crack is not settlement related. Basically the area of wall is made up of two sheets of plaster board and at the join the plaster board has been broken through ..."


I'd be grateful of any experienced opinions you might have - I appreciate it's not so easy to tell from a picture, but any guidance or background you might have would be useful both for myself in this situation and I suspect to others who experience similar.

  • Do they have any evidence supporting their argument? Looks structural to me. Did you document it when you moved in? – ND Geek Jul 27 '12 at 14:48
  • I'm not 100% certain, but in the center of the picture there are plaster spots that could be a previous attempt to fix the crack, but the patch also cracked. – Danny T. Jul 27 '12 at 14:55
  • Only the opinion of this contractor. The opening inventory lists 'some settlement cracking to LH wall' (the wall in question. – jstephenson Jul 27 '12 at 14:56
  • How does he suggest you exacerbated the crack? – Matthew Jul 27 '12 at 15:11
  • From the vague plasterboard joint comment made in the agents email (listed in the question) and their dismissal of my point that there's no collateral damage to suggest any manor of firm impact, I think 'pressure on plasterboard joint' is their argument. – jstephenson Jul 27 '12 at 15:18

Well, one thing that doesn't make any sense based on the picture is this part:

Basically the area of wall is made up of two sheets of plaster board and at the join the plaster board has been broken through

I'm not even sure it looks like this, but in any event, how exactly would you have cracked this without causing any other damage to the wall? Like if you had banged the wall so hard as to crack a seam, you'd expect to see other damage to the wall.

Assuming these cracks do line up to the seam, two things come to mind. (1) The boards were not staggered properly and (2) The installer likely did not use paper or fiberglass tape on the seams - I think it looks more like a crummy installation.

At the end of the day though, this isn't really a serious issue, more of just wear and tear; all walls get banged up to some degree. The owner should just sand, patch and paint it and move on.

  • The 'z' shape the crack takes - does this correspond to the underlying boards shape? – jstephenson Jul 27 '12 at 15:40
  • @jstephenson no wallboard I've ever seen has a "z" shaped seam. – Matthew Jul 27 '12 at 16:05
  • I agree, but I think what it might be is two boards next to each other that are offset by only a couple inches. Vertical line is the seperation between two boards, as is the horizontal one – Steven Jul 27 '12 at 17:35

I have similar problem, my landlord said that our plaster was done 2 years ago , so it could be plaster settlement crack, and they will be sending the painters to assess the situation regarding the cracks.

I will suggest you to do the same, ask your landlord to send third party who can actually assess

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