The idea of normal wear and tear can be a little scary for owners of rental property. When you go into your property after a tenant leaves, you’re looking for the good and the bad. With normal wear and tear, there are some gray areas that you’ll need to expect and manage.
Holes in Walls
One of the biggest problems we see involved holes in walls from doors. If the tenants have kids who are hard on doors, or you don’t have doorstops, you’re probably going to get those little notches in your drywall from doors. That is damage, not wear and tear. You can charge the tenant for that cost. Scuffed baseboards and smaller holes in the walls from curtain rods are considered normal wear and tear. Anything that you would have in your own house is something you cannot charge tenants for. You can’t deduct for that because you would expect tenants to hang curtains and you might have those same holes in your own walls.
Everyone has different cleaning standards. You might walk into your property and find a few crumbs on the counters or dust bunnies on the floor. Even with those things, the house is still considered “broom clean” at that point. You have the option of professionally cleaning your home if the tenant doesn’t do it, and you can charge the tenant out of the security deposit for that cleaning fee.
The best piece of advice we can give you is to always save your receipts. That way, if the tenants do challenge what you charge, or they try to claim that you are overcharging them, you are prepared with your documentation. This will be very helpful if you have to go to court and explain what you withheld from the security deposit.
If you have any questions about specific wear and tear issues, please contact us at Reliable Realty Property Management, and we’d be happy to help you.