Normal wear and tear is a tough one for owners, and as a professional property management company serving the Sarasota/Bradenton and Portland areas, we can help you understand the difference between wear and tear and property damage.
After a tenant has rented your property for 12 months and moved out, you may notice marks on the wall. That’s frustrating, and you may want to bill the tenant for every possible thing. That’s not legal, and it illustrates why you need a good property management company that knows the law and understands what to do.
Document Property Condition
Understanding normal wear and tear starts from the beginning of the lease. Good documentation will help you review the condition of the property prior to the tenant moving in. If you have that, you have a good foundation to start your security deposit claim when a tenant moves out. You’ll be able to move through the property room by room and look at the things that are normal wear and tear.
Wear and Tear vs. Damage
Normal wear and tear happens over time. So, if you’re walking in the front door to the bedroom every day and after a year, there’s wear in the carpet from walking the same path, that’s normal wear and tear. If your couch is up against the wall in the living room and at the end of 12 months, there’s a mark on the wall, that’s normal wear and tear. But, if there’s a sudden action like a stain on the carpet or a hole in the wall, or a broken chandelier, that’s not normal wear and tear. It’s damage, and the tenant is responsible for fixing it.
It comes down to common sense. If you were living in the property by yourself, you might spill something and get a stain. Then, you would just get it fixed or removed or replaced. It’s common sense to think about the tenants using the property as you would. That’s wear and tear. Anything they break is not normal, and it’s damage.
If you’re wondering about how to distinguish between wear and tear from property damage, contact us at PropM Property Management.