How to determine normal wear and tear?

By Tenant

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, it is very important that you know how to differentiate normal wear and tear from actual damage caused by a tenant to a rental unit. In order for a landlord to protect their investment property and at the same time abide by the local state laws by avoiding to unlawfully taking hold of a security deposit. Also to prevent the tenant from causing any damage to the property and for them to know how much security deposit they can take back when they move out, they must know how to differentiate normal wear and tear and actual damage.

To help you out here are some tips in determining normal wear and tear from actual damage.

  • Normal Wear and Tear. No matter how meticulous a tenant is, they will always make minor damage to a rental property over the course of your stay. These minor damages are normally called normal wear and tear, which includes small scratches and nail holes on the walls, worn carpets and broken hinges. The landlord cannot charge the tenant with the repairs of the above mentioned damages for those are normal repairs for normal wear and tear.
  • Damages. Any major damages that do not fall to the category of normal wear and tear must be paid for by the tenant himself. Examples of these damages are large holes in the wall that is not a nail hole and a ripped, heavily and permanently stained carpet.  Also too much garbage, furniture and personal items left by the tenant when he moved out is considered damage. And as you and your landlord had agreed any damages made during your stay that is not normal wear and tear must be paid for by you; thus your landlord have the right to use your security deposit to cover for the repairs and may charge you for more if the cost exceeds your security deposit.

Edited on: Thursday, March 21st, 2013 1:26 am

15 Responses to “How to determine normal wear and tear?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


March 21st, 2013 1:40 am

Can I contest if my landlord wants me to pay for the repairs if I already gave him a security deposit?


March 21st, 2013 12:00 pm

Here’s a tip always does a walk-through before you move in and document everything that is in the rental unit. Take notes of its condition and appearance for you to have a reference when you move out.


March 21st, 2013 10:00 pm

How do you justify not paying for repairs on carpet?


March 22nd, 2013 8:00 am

The best way to not pay for damages is not to make major damages to the apartment.


March 22nd, 2013 6:00 pm

Better ask your landlord to remove the carpet before you move in so that you do not have to think of ruining it throughout your stay.


March 23rd, 2013 4:00 am

Be responsible with your actions. LOL


March 23rd, 2013 2:00 pm

Landlord only wants his property to be in a good condition that is why they require their tenants to pay for any damages they have caused.


March 24th, 2013 12:20 am

Be sure to know what you are paying for.


March 24th, 2013 10:00 am

Be sure to write down all the conditions of the fixtures of the apartment during a walk through and let the landlord to sign your checklist just to be safe.


March 24th, 2013 8:00 pm

You can also check your local state laws for the definition of “wear and tear”.


March 25th, 2013 6:20 am

Make sure it is written on the lease agreement what damages are considered as normal wear and tear.


March 25th, 2013 4:20 pm

To prevent any heavy stains on the carpet avoid eating and spills drinks on the carpet.


March 26th, 2013 2:00 am

Check the life expectancy of the fixtures and appliances in the apartment.


March 26th, 2013 11:40 am

Never pay too much for a repair.


March 26th, 2013 9:40 pm

Ask for the receipt of all repairs the landlord made to the apartment and if you were asked to replace the carpet ask for the prorated price and the years the carpet was on the apartment for you to compare how many years are left on the carpet.


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