Many landlords ask this very good question: What does normal wear and tear mean? It’s actually a legal term found in leases. This clause means that the tenant is not responsible for normal wear and tear on the property. That’s the owner’s responsibility.
If a tenant’s child throws a baseball through a window and the window breaks, that’s a tenant’s responsibility. If a plumber sees a toilet is clogged because something was stuffed down the toilet and it backed up instead of flushing, the tenant must take care of that damage. But if a carpet is worn throughout the property, that’s going to be considered normal wear and tear. The tenant has a responsibility to keep the place clean because if it’s not neat and tidy, the carpet will wear faster. However, carpet replacement in your property is not the tenant’s responsibility; it’s yours.
Other wear and tear items include nail holes in the walls from pictures and photos and decorations that were hung. Gaping holes are not acceptable and would be considered damage, but nail holes that we have to sheetrock and paint are acceptable examples of wear and tear. Painting the interior is considered a landlord’s responsibility.
While wear and tear is something you’ll have to accept, you don’t want to allow any abuse of the property. If there is damage, you can require the tenant to pay for it.
If you have a specific situation to talk about, please contact us at Independence Realty, and we’d be happy to evaluate the problem and let you know if you’re dealing with wear and tear or damage.