What’s Considered Normal Wear and Tear?
Determining what’s normal wear and tear is one of the most contested issues landlords have to deal with on a regular basis. Whenever there’s an expense to be held against a tenant’s security deposit, you can rest assured that the tenant will claim the damage should be considered normal wear and tear and the landlord or property management company in opposition will view the damage as excessive and beyond normal.
To understand what constitutes as “Normal Wear and Tear” let’s first review the definition:
1. Damage or deterioration resulting from ordinary use; normal depreciation.
In the definition the word “Ordinary” really stands out as arbitrary. Ordinary use to one person may seem like excessive to another. Some tenants may use a microwave oven once a week, while others will use is several times a day.
It might just be easier if we look at the legal definition of “Normal Wear and Tear” right? Except, there is no legal definition.
Landlords and property management companies are left with subjective guidelines and imploring common sense when determining the difference between excessive and normal wear and tear issues.
Factors to Consider when Dealing with Normal Wear and Tear:
- Length of Tenancy- The longer the tenancy the more normal wear and tear will occur.
- Types of Tenants: Roommates, individual tenants, families, etc.
- Original condition of items in question.
In the video below on our Facebook Live #RentTime show we discuss “Normal Wear and Tear” scenarios. We emphasize the 3 areas most contested in rental properties and show both sides of a real world example that our office recently handled.
(To Like or Share on Facebook, Hover over video-Upper Right Corner)
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Written by Salvatore Friscia, owner of San Diego Premier Property Management a full service residential property management company offering Worry Free property management to the greater San Diego area since 2004 and TenantFinder.com.