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How to distinguish "Normal Wear and Tear" versus "Damage"

How to distinguish


  • Unavoidable deterioration in the dwelling and its fixtures resulting from normal use

  • The lessening in value of an asset due to ordinary and normal use

  • The inevitable physical decline of the condition of a property from time and usage

  • The natural deterioration of the rental that occurs during normal conditions

  • Three of the four definitions listed above contain the word "normal"—and we all know that "normal" can be subjective. Defining "damage" can be equally subjective as well as shown in the following examples:

  • The loss or harm to property caused by excessive abuse or misuse

  • Misuse or neglect that results in reduces value, usefulness, etc.

The landlord's goal, however, is to make sure the rental property is maintained in good condition. After inspection, if it appears the tenant has abused the condition of the rental property in any way, we will make deductions from the tenant's security deposit in order to fix this damage. We encourage our tenants to report any needed repairs and respond promptly to their requests. Finally, provide tenants at move-in and move-out with a list of examples of "normal wear and tear" and "damage" along with a cleaning checklist.