Erin Eberlin is a real estate & landlord expert, covering rental management, tenant acquisition, and property investment. She has more than 16 years of experience in real estate." data-inline-tooltip="true">Erin Eberlin

Erin Eberlin is a real estate and landlord expert, covering rental management, tenant acquisition, và property investment. She has more than 16 years of experience in real estate.

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Over the course of more than 30 years, David J. Rubin has served various roles in the editing and publishing field, specifically focusing on the subjects of law, software development, photography, & literature. The majority of his experience lies within the legal and financial spaces. For nearly 12 years, David worked for Matthew Bender và Co., a subdivision of legal quảng cáo trên internet LexisNexis. There, he held several hats, including manager of research và development, programmer analyst, and senior copy editor. In addition lớn fact-checking for The Balance, he produces videography & photography, & also writes fiction.

Landlords are responsible for maintaining rental properties, but there is a certain amount of deterioration that is expected lớn occur as property ages. This is known as wear and tear. Neither the landlord nor the tenant is responsible for this normal deterioration. Damage done lớn the property is a different story, however, and the person responsible for causing the damage also is financially responsible for fixing it.


Defining Normal Wear and Tear

Normal wear & tear is the expected decline in the condition of a property due to lớn normal everyday use. It is deterioration that occurs in the course of living in a property. It is not caused by abuse or neglect.


A couple of small stains on a carpetA couple of scrapes or dings in a wood floorColor of carpet or hardwood fading due lớn exposure to lớn sunlightDirty groutLoose door handlesSilver finish on bathroom fixtures beginning to wear away

Wear và tear can be defined further as deterioration that can be reasonably expected to occur. It is normal, for example, for thereto be some scuffs in the paint after a tenant moves out of a unit. The scuffs in the paint would be considered normal wear & tear. The hole in the wall would be considered damage.


Defining Damage

Damage is not naturally occurring. It is harm that affects the value, usefulness or normal function of property. This damage can be committed on purpose or through neglect.


A smashed bathroom mirrorA broken nhà wc seatA hole in the middle of a doorDamaged or missing door handles/locksCarpet soaked with pet urine

Damage can be defined further as issues that are unexpected. For example, it is not normal or expected for there khổng lồ be a large hole in a bedroom wall after a tenant moves out of a unit.


Why Normal Wear and Tear Is Important

Wear and tear is a term commonly used when dealing with rental properties, and trying lớn determine the difference between normal wear & tear and damage to lớn a rental unit often becomes an issue when a tenant moves out & is looking for his security deposit lớn be returned. A landlord cannot make deductions for normal wear và tear, but a landlord can make deductions for damage to the property.


These issues can lead lớn disputes between tenants và landlords. A tenant might believe a security deposit is his or her property & should be returned lớn her at the kết thúc of the lease. She paid her rent on time và has not broken any terms of the lease, so she expects the security deposit to be returned in full. 


The landlord's goal, however, is khổng lồ make sure the rental property is maintained in good condition. If he believes the tenant has abused the condition of the rental property in any way, he will take deductions from the tenant's security deposit in order to fix this damage. 


Walk-Through Inspections

Walk-through inspections are one way to avoid security deposit disputes. A landlord and new tenant should walk through a property prior lớn the tenant moving in. Pictures should be taken to document the condition of the rental unit. Many lease agreements include a checklist of rooms, appliances, fixtures, etc., where tenants should chú ý the condition upon moving in.


Both landlord and tenant should sign the document, acknowledging that they agree with the current condition.


When the tenant is moving out of the rental unit, the landlord & tenant should again walk through the property to lớn document any changes to the condition of the property. Pictures again should be taken. 


The landlord can point out any issues he has with the current condition of the property và explain why he will be taking deductions from the tenant"s security deposit lớn cover those damages. The tenant can agree with or disputethe landlord"s findings.


Landlord Responsibility khổng lồ Maintain Unit

Every landlord has the responsibility lớn maintain their rental properties by following building codes, making needed repairs, providing proper trash receptacles, & providing running water.

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If damage at the rental property is caused by the landlord's failure khổng lồ properly maintain the property, then the landlord cannot take deductions from the tenant's security deposit, even if the damage is inside the tenant's unit. For example, if a roof leak has caused the drywall in a tenant's ceiling to start khổng lồ collapse, this damage is the landlord's fault, not the tenant's.