What Damage Is Considered Normal Wear and Tear?

November 6, 2019

family in rental homeRenting a home in Loveland typically requires a tenant security deposit to cover any damage to the property that extends beyond "normal wear and tear." While the landlord is ultimately responsible for maintaining the rental, there is always a certain amount of property deterioration that's expected to happen as the building or property ages that is neither the obligation of the renter or rentee. Once the landlord has determined that a tenant has left the rental home in acceptable condition, it's their responsibility to return the security deposit to the renters. Sounds easy enough, right?


Yes and no.


The general, transactional concept of a security deposit between landlord and tenant is fairly straightforward. However, depending on what side of the transaction you're on, there are multiple views of what constitutes normal wear and tear and what falls into the category of damage. Once deterioration is classified as damage, the person or party that caused the damage is ultimate financially responsible for repairing it.


Recognizing The Differences Between Damage and Wear and Tear

Whether you're a landlord or a renter in the Loveland area, it's essential to understand some of the biggest differences between appropriate property deterioration and damage that requires restoration. It's important to note that there are no hard and fast rules when identifying property damage, and every situation is unique. However, knowing some of the basic differences can help you protect your best interests throughout a property rental.


Normal Wear and Tear

Under most guidelines, acceptable wear and tear is the expected decline of a property or home due to typical everyday, ordinary, and reasonable use. Wear and tear is not the result of willful or inadvertent neglect or abuse. Some general examples of acceptable property deterioration throughout the course of a rental include:


  • Minor carpet stains
  • Light scuffs, marks, dings, or scrapes on wood floor
  • Loose cabinet fixtures, closet door handles, doorknobs
  • Fading flooring due to exposure to sunlight
  • Minor scratches on stainless steel finishes
  • Discolored tile grout


Of course, the list of potential wear and tear depreciation is virtually endless. Other signs of everyday use of a Loveland rental home may include frayed blind pulls, faded window treatments, slightly peeling wallpaper, slight marks on the walls, and loose caulking in various areas of the home. High traffic rooms may show more signs of wear and tear based on sheer use of the space.


Potential Signs of Damage

Unlike everyday deterioration, damage to a rental property is not a naturally occurring event. Instead, it is categorized by harm to a property that directly impacts its value, performance, or usefulness. Note: Damage does not mean that it was done on purpose. While it may be the result of willful destruction, damage can also occur accidentally as well. Some general examples of damage include:


  • Smashed windows or mirrors
  • Holes in doors, closets, or walls
  • Broken or missing doorknobs, fixtures, locks
  • Large, permanent carpet stains
  • Extensive hardwood floor damage
  • Broken cabinets, appliances, vanities


Damage can also be categorized as issues with the home that are unexpected during the rental process. For example, it's not expected that there will be a large hole left in a bathroom closet door after a renter has moved out of a property.


Why It's Important to Understand Normal Wear and Tear

No matter if you're a renter or landlord, understanding the distinctions between everyday use and damage is important. Why? Because, under law, property owners cannot make deductions out of a security deposit for normal wear and tear. However, a landlord can charge a tenant for reparations on anything that's considered damage to the rental home.


Walk-through inspections can help prevent any damage disputes at the end of a property rental, for both landlords and renters. Landlords should walk every new tenant through the rental home before the move-in date, taking pictures to accurately document the property's current condition. The walk-through notes should include any existing deterioration as well as a checklist of the state of the property's rooms, fixtures, and appliances. At the end of the lease, walk-through documentation and photos can serve as visual evidence of any deterioration that may be categorized as damage and may warrant a security deposit deduction.


Still have questions about standard wear and tear? We can help. Contact All Property Services today to speak with our property management team about your Loveland rental.


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