When we talk about wear and tear at any property, it is a controversial point between a landlord and tenants. For example, when a tenant wants to change his apartment, he wants to get the complete security amount deposited earlier. On the other hand, the property owner doesn't want to return the complete deposit as the house is not in perfect condition.
It is very important to understand the difference between property damage and general wear and Tear. This article can help you understand this basic, and you can plan your apartment shift in a much better way.
What are wear and Tear?
When the condition of rental property slowly declines naturally, it is called wear and Tear. Every house faces this situation due to the everyday use of the property. No matter how well you take care of a property, the time will not let it remain the same. If tenets have used the place for a long time, there will be more wear and tear signs and vice versa.
It is important to understand that normal wear and Tear is natural, so landlords cannot keep the security deposit when tenants leave the house. However, if there is some damage due to neglect of tenets, you can keep a part of the security deposit to repair the damage. But in this case, you have to provide a list of those things which need repair.
Wear and Tear Vs. Property Damage
There is a little difference between wear and tear and property damage. Here are some examples, which will clear the difference between the two concepts.
Examples of Wear and Tear
When you do a move-out inspection and see some damage, ask yourself if you see same kind of damage in your own house. Some owners are sensitive about their property, and they want their tenants to leave the house in the same condition as it was years ago.
It is very important to consider that your house was used by someone else as his own house. He was using it day and night, and minor scratches and little wear and Tear is natural.
It may include
- Flaked paint on cabinets
- Stains and scratches on countertops
- Dents in Hardwood floors
- Worn out cabinet doors
- Handles and doorknobs are not perfectly fitted
- Faded carpets
- Untidy bathroom tiles
- Faded wallpapers
Examples of Damage
In some cases, there is actual property damage, it may not be due to neglect, but accidents may damage your property. However, no matter how the damage is caused, the tenants have to bear the repair expenses if it is damaged.
Here are some examples of damage:
- Countertops are having marks of burn.
- Chipped countertops, which are remarkably visible.
- Broken bathroom tiles
- A lot of stains on the carpet
- Holes in the carpets and wooden floors
- Damaged mirrors
- Damaged bathtubs and sinks
- Broken mirror
If tenants had pets, this list of damage might also include:
- Claw scratches on different surfaces
- Ripped rugs and carpet
- Pet stains on different surfaces
The house owner can deduct the money from the security deposit, which is required to repair these damages. Moreover, you can deduct money for cleaning the house as well. You have to prepare a list of damages and keep the security deposit according to that.
Why is it important to understand normal wear and tear?
Knowing the difference between damage and wear and Tear is important for both landlords and tenants both. If you charge the tenant for wear and Tear, it is illegal, and he may drag you in court. It is the responsibility of the landlord to fix the property before handing it over to the new tenant. The common things a landlord is supposed to do are paint the house, replace the damaged carpet and polish the wooden floors.
Landlords have to bear many other expenses, too, like paying property taxes and insurance fees. However, no homeowner wants to pay for the negligence of his tenant. So, if there is actual property damage, you have the right to deduct it from the security deposit.
How to avoid wear and tear Disputes?
If you want to avoid arguments with the tenants and make sure they pay for the damage they have caused, you can take a few steps.
Set an inspection routine: As a landlord, it should be your habit to inspect the house with your tenant, no matter he is moving in or moving out. When you are given a house for rent, you can take pictures of damaged things, which can cause disputes in the future. Making a checklist about the present situation of the house can also help. Then, when the tenant moves out, visit the house with him, notice any damage, and discuss that with him. You can compare the checklist when he moved into the present conditions that can help you.
Regular maintenance is important: To avoid any disagreement with the tenant, regular maintenance is very important. You must invest some time and money to avoid big losses. Make sure you hand over the house to your new tenants in good condition; it does not mean installing expensive fixtures, just clean and proper house. Moreover, ask your tenant to notify you if there is a property-related problem. If you keep fixing small problems, they will not grow into large issues. Treat your property with care, and tenants will do the same.
Find responsible tenants for your house.
This is the first thing which you must consider. When you are finding a new tenant, try to find a responsible person. You can check with their previous landlord if he was satisfied with their behavior. You can ask for some references, who can provide you the necessary information. It is very important to check the previous record of the tenant if there were any property-related issues before. If you are not satisfied with the background of tenant, try to find another one.