Landlords: What Constitutes Normal Wear and Tear?

Landlords typically stipulate that a renter’s security deposit won’t be used to cover normal wear and tear on an apartment or rental home. Normal wear and tear encompasses everything from stuck windows to faded curtains.

Damage That Falls under “Normal Wear and Tear”

Carpet and paint are two items commonly included in a lease’s “wear and tear” clause. A renter has little to no control over how quickly paint may fade or carpet may fray. If the home or apartment suffers from general plumbing or wiring problems that are no fault of the renter but appeared during the tenancy, these issues may also be considered normal wear and tear.

Wear and Tear vs. Actual Damage

Even the best-kept homes require regular maintenance. Any situation that would arise in a home regardless of who happened to live there is normal wear and tear. The greater the number of people living in a home, the more wear and tear the home will experience as a result.

Actual damages, however, are incidents that are specific to a tenant. A hole in the wall, stains on the carpet or a broken window may not have occurred had another tenant rented the home or apartment. Thus, these incidents can be considered damages, and landlords may use the tenant’s security deposit to pay for repairs.

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