Damage In Rental Units: What Are the Common Causes?

Property Management Blog

When residents use a house as owners or tenants, wear and tear are necessary. If your tenants have moved out recently, you have to prepare the house for the newcomers. So, investigate the house properly, and you will find some problems. Understanding the difference between wear and tear and damage is very important. If it is damaged, you can use the security deposit to fix that, but for wear and tear, this rule is not applicable. So, first, try to understand the difference between these two terms.

Difference between damage and wear and tear

Normal damage associated with the use of the house is called wear and tear. It includes minor marks on walls, small scratches on the floor, faded paint, and similar things. It requires very little cleaning and repair and the house will be in good condition again. But if we talk about damage, it is different. Major holes in walls, burn stains on the floor, broken doors, and other similar things, which require major repairing falls in the category of damage.

Depending on the extent of damage, you can use the security deposit money to repair the damage. However, you cannot use the security deposit for regular maintenance of the house, which is required before the arrival of new tenants.

The money you spend to clean and repair little wear and tear is the cost of the business; you cannot deduct it from the security deposit. Different states have different laws for security deposit uses. So keep in mind that if the damage is extensive and the cost is more than the regular maintenance cost, you can use money from the security deposit. Otherwise, it's your responsibility. If damage is due to the tenant's negligence, you can charge them.

Holes in walls

Tenants have to hang a few things, and they need nails for that. So small holes in walls are part of wear and tear; they are not damaged. You can state that clearly in your lease agreement. However, if there are large holes, the renter will be responsible for repairing them, or you can deduct the repairing amount from his security deposit.

Large holes can be the result of multiple activities. They have inserted large nails in walls to hang pictures and other wall hangings. Drilling in drywall also results in large holes. If tenants had installed some hardware, they might also leave large holes when removed from walls. Other than that, various other activities like careless furniture handling and roughhousing can also leave large holes in walls. Experts recommend that we do not ask the tenants to repair these holes, as they will hire cheap labor and try to save money in every possible way. So, it's better to do it yourself. Hire your trusted people and supervise the whole repairing activity.

Damage to floor

Some houses have hard floors, others have carpets, and both get damaged easily. If the carpets or floor are dirty or slightly damaged, you cannot deduct the money from the security deposit. But if the floor or carpet is badly stained, ripped, or burnt, rules can be different. If something spills on the carpet, the tenant is responsible for cleaning. If they leave the carpet dirty and don’t clean it before moving out, you can hire a cleaning company to clean it and pay the money from the security deposit. However, you must keep in mind that you cannot charge your tenant for regular cleaning and repair.

If there is a large stain on the carpet or burnt or ripped, you can deduct the money from the security deposit. Similarly, you can charge the tenant if the wood floor is stained with watermarks.

Stains and Burns

Stains and burns are common for floors, but they can be a serious problem in other places. For instance, if curtains or countertops are burned or ripped, this is something serious. If the kitchen is not properly used, the stains of hot pans will be visible at various places. Some people cut the vegetables directly on countertops instead of chopping boards. It causes scratches on countertops, which look very ugly.

Curtains can also be damaged beyond common wear and tear, which is more common in houses that have pets. Pets tear the curtains, and sometimes they are completely ripped off. If you change the curtain before the new tenant move in, you should not charge the tenant for that. If you do the cleaning before the next renter move in, you can charge the old tenant the cost of replacing the new curtains.

Smoke damage

Smoke damage is another unpleasant harm to your home, but many landlords do not think about it. Usually, there is no clause in the lease agreement about smoke damage. But when you see smoke damage, I can blow your mind. Smoke from cigarettes can cause damage to walls, ceilings and drapes. The damage can be visible if the tenant stays for a longer period. The smell of cigarettes is also very persistent, and you cannot get rid of it even after regular washing. So, if you need to replace these things, you can use the security deposit.

Nicotine is an important content of cigarettes, and along with tar, it can cause ceiling discoloration. It gives a bad look, and if your next tenants are allergic to these substances, it can be a health risk. So, it would help if you cleaned it properly before the next renters move in. First, clean the ceiling and wall properly, and then a good coat of paint will complete the job.

Unauthorized paint

Some tenants want to color the walls with their favorite color, and they do the paint themselves, which is completely unauthorized. If they have painted the house without seeking your permission, you have the right to deduct the painting charges from their security deposit.

These are just a few common forms of damage. If it’s a common wear and tear, let it go and prepare the rental property for new tenants. However, you can charge the tenant for the damage if it is serious damage.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty.

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