When you have a tenant move into your property, the house is in a particular condition. A year or a few years later, when the tenant moves out, you will need to assess the property and determine how the condition is different than it was at move in. You will notice normal wear and tear, which is included in the cost of having a tenant in your property. You are required to incur those costs because it’s general wear on the property which would have happened no matter who was living in it.
There is normal wear and tear and then there is damage that goes beyond what is expected.
There are two things to remember here:
- Normal wear and tear is what would happen if you were living in the house yourself.
- The number of tenants and their occupancy makes a difference.
For example, two people living in the house for three years will not have as much wear and tear as an entire family.
Normal wear and tear might include small stains on the carpet over the course of a year or two. Nail holes in the walls, fraying on the edges of carpet, sofa marks on the walls and light scratches on your hardwood are all examples of normal wear and tear. Damage or misuse might include holes in the wall caused by televisions or other enormous things being hung. Door handles hitting the wall and leaving holes or evident damage from kicking or punching doors and closets would also be well beyond the definition of normal wear and tear. Significant carpet stains and heavy scratches on the floor would also qualify as damage.
At Peabody Residential, we use the WWJT system. This means What Would a Judge Think? As a property manager or a Normal Wear and Tear in a Reston Rental Propertyproperty owner, that’s what really matters. You should be cautious instead of aggressive when it comes to wear and tear. It’s easy for a tenant to object and then you have to go to court and prove to a judge that the issue is something that falls outside of the normal wear and tear definition. If you think a judge would agree that it’s damage you’re talking about – great. However, if you’re not sure, always err on the side of caution. It’s better for you in the long term and it will cause fewer problems. Also, remember that the security deposit disposition will cost you money if you need to spend too much time on it.
Remember the WWJT rule, and if you have any questions about wear and tear, please contact us at Peabody Residential.