What exactly is “Normal Wear and Tear”?

wear and tear header

The phrases “normal wear and tear” and “damage” are sometimes used interchangeably, which is incorrect. From the perspective of both the law and a general lease agreement, these two terms describe very different situations. 

The line between tenant-caused damage or legitimate repair work can sometimes be difficult to determine. So, you need an understanding of how these different terms work in order for your finances to be stable while still holding renters accountable.

So, what does “normal wear and tear” mean?

In this article, we at Halcyon Real Estate will help to shed some light on what’s considered “normal wear and tear” and what is property damage – so you don’t get caught off guard.

Describing Damages and Wear and Tear

cleaning carpets

Wear and tear are common in a rental property. It describes the expected deterioration of your unit as it ages over time. This can include the loss of shine on tiles, the dulling of paint, or the wearing down of cabinet hinges.

The reality is, that your property will show signs of wear and tear and the longer someone renting from you stays there, the more evident this effect becomes. Other examples of normal wear and tear include:

  • Faded carpets
  • Faded, cracking, or peeling paintwork
  • Torn or faded wallpaper
  • Cracked window panes due to fault foundation
  • Loose grouting around bathroom tiles
  • Aging pipes causing partially clogged sinks
  • Aged sinks, toilets, or bathtubs having worn enamel
  • Old floors needing fresh paint or varnish

Unexpected property damage occurs when a rental property has been abused or neglected. This type of situation does not happen naturally and can be attributed to negligence in some cases. This type of damage harms the value, usefulness, or abnormal functioning of the property, forcing you to renovate

Some examples of unexpected damages are:

  • Chipped flooring
  • Improper use of the toilet causes clogging
  • Doors having ripped hinges
  • Severe damage or window breakage
  • Stains or burns on the carpet or flooring
  • Unapproved wallpaper

Using the Security Deposit

Whether you can use the security deposit to cover damages or not will depend on local laws. But if you believe that actual damages have occurred due to tenant negligence or carelessness in regard to maintaining their tenant relationships in good standing then there may still opportunity for recovery.

This can be done by pulling security deposits from negligent renters. It may also result in litigation between landlords-tenants if landlords are not careful in their evaluation of the property damage.

security deposit 


Use Before and After Images

You should always perform an inspection with your tenant before they move in. This will help ensure that you are both aware of any potential damages and can discuss what is expected from both parties if unexpected issues arise during their tenancy. 

At this point, you can take photos of the current condition of the property including any existing scratches or dents. These images may be helpful should a dispute arise later down the line.

As per the landlord-tenant laws, you are entitled to retain a portion of the renter’s security deposit should you discover damage or problems with the condition in which the property is found.

Additionally, in order to enforce these rights, there needs to be some form of documentation proving each instance and an itemized list detailing how much was spent on repairs related to these damages. So, your before and after pictures will serve you well.

Screen Prospects Thoroughly

If a quality tenant lives in your rented property they are a lot less likely to cause damages, need excessive repairs, or cause you legal issues. So, to protect your investment, it is important to ensure that you are renting out property only to responsible tenants.

A thorough background check can help prevent damages caused by neglect or deliberate disregard for the owner’s belongings in order fulfillment of their tenancy agreement terms.

A tenant screening solution, like the one provided by Halcyon, serves many purposes. For a landlord to be confident that they will collect the rent on time and in full every month, it is important for them to conduct a thorough screening service.

tenant screening

Bottom Line

We know that managing a property is no easy task. But Halcyon Real Estate Services has your back! We provide reliable and compassionate service to help you save time and headaches of any issue related to your property.

From screening potential renters before they move in, to collecting rent each month as well as maintaining the condition of the property – we’ve got it covered.

There is no better professional to rely upon. Get in touch today and receive a quote for our property management services.