14 Jul Normal Wear and Tear
Normal Wear and Tear
Defining normal wear and tear is an important part of the tenant move-out process. Especially if the question of damage arises. If and when it does, the move-in checklist will serve as evidence if there is a security deposit dispute when the tenant is moving out. For this reason, doing a thorough move-in inspection that includes a signed checklist is key. So what really is considered “normal wear and tear?” Things like crayon marks on doorways, holes in walls, and broken widows are all obvious and above and beyond normal wear and tear. But other things like worn carpet or few scuff marks on the floor, can be questionable. The first step in determining normal wear and tear is making sure you have kept good records. With this in mind, we offer some insight on what you will need to define normal wear and tear.
The information provided here does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only.
Normal Wear and Tear: The Important Of Keeping Good Records
Property damage is an issue that often causes conflict between landlords and tenants. Having proof of the condition of the rental property can help resolve issues quickly. Keeping records of the condition of the rental property can help you assess if there is damage beyond normal wear and tear. For this reason, you should photograph the condition of the rental unit and do a move-in inspection when tenants move in and a move-out inspection when they move out. During move in, make sure you and your tenants sign the checklist ensuring they get a copy for their records.
The move-in checklist helps you keep track of the condition of your property. And, helps to ensure that you and your tenants thoroughly look through the property to spot issues. Most importantly, it will help you hold your tenants accountable for any damage that occurs while they live there. With this in mind, we offer some insight on things your move-in checklist should include.
What To Include On The Move-In Checklist:
The move-in checklist (inspection) should include space at the top for the tenant’s full name, the property’s address, the move-in date and the move-out date. Additionally, make a note about when the first and last inspection dates took place as well as who inspected the property. Also, make sure to include headings for all the rooms inside the property. For example: Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Bedroom #1, Backyard, etc. And, below those headings, make subheadings for specific features such as floors, doors, light fixtures, walls and appliances. For more on this, click here to view an example.
Defining Normal Wear and Tear
Defining whether damage is beyond normal wear and tear often comes down to deciding if something was used in a way it wasn’t designed for. For example, worn out carpet is (normal wear and tear), while a cigarette burn in the carpet is preventable (damage).
Another example is when a tenant drags something sharp across the floor and scratches or cuts it. Something like this is obviously beyond normal wear and tear. But the longer a tenant lives in your property, the more wear and tear should be expected. For this reason, it is wise to make sure you keep good records in the event a dispute should ever arise.
Prior to move-in, you should always do a walk through and document any areas of damage and deterioration with a checklist and photographs even video. By making sure you have kept good records, you can hold your tenants accountable for any damage that occurs while they live there. But for some, keeping good records is not that easy. And, for others, there is not enough time. When this is the case, you may want to consider hiring a property management company to help you.
Whether you are looking to change property managers or simply want to hire one for the very first time, we can help. We manage residential properties including homes, condos, and multi-family properties such as duplex and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. If you are interested in saving time, money, and the stress that comes along with managing your own rentals we have a management solution that is right for you. Call us today at (858) 576-2176.