Rentals - What constitutes Wear & Tear

3 Replies

Tenant moved out. Walls need touch ups and two bathroom cabinets are de-laminating (excess water dripping and not cleaning). The baseboards have knicks on all of them. One has a piece of it taken out. Is the water damage and baseboards considered wear and tear?

It varies state by state, hopefully someone from your area can tell you more exactly.

How long were the tenants there? Is it time to renovate the bathroom anyway?

I would say the water damage to the cabinets sounds more like they have reached the end of their life but how old are they? how many other tenants have used them?

Same with the baseboards. Are they so bad that you would replace them rather then just paint them? How much is it going to cost to just replace the missing peice? May not be worth while to withold it and then have the tenant turn around and sue you for not returning it.

Just my two cents

@Douglas Snook The tenant has been in the property since Oct 2015. Bathroom was renovated towards the end of 2011 with new cabinets. One other tenant and kept property in excellent condition. Second tenant did not unfortunately. 

The baseboards are not to the point some wood putty and paint can't fix. The one piece that is damaged has to be replaced, it's a 2"x5" piece that was broken off and the decorative part is gone. 

This is the first time I've dealt with "tear and wear" and mental notes for future materials used. Was looking for some insight from others with more experience. 

We base our wear n tear significantly on length of occupancy but if a bathroom vanity or cabinet was in good shape when they moved in, then the occupancy should be over 10 years to consider that normal wear n tear.

if a tenant leaves in less than a year we expect the unit to be in move-in condition and are somewhat hard a**es.  We charge the tenant for everything.

If a tenant is in the unit for more than a year we expect to need to do some touch up paint but the difficult assessment is when is it more than expected (more than normal wear n tear). 

If the tenant is in 5 years, we hope to not need to re-paint the interior but if we do need to repaint the interior we typically do not charge the tenant.

Our units get converted away from carpet at the first recent rehab but we have a couple units with carpet.  If the carpet lasts less than 10 years we usually charge the tenant partial replacement costs.  We had a tenant destroy a carpet in one year once.  We explained to the tenant that we believed the carpet was destroyed but if they believed they could get it clean they were welcome to try to clean it.  The tenant apparently agreed with our assessment (they did not try to get it cleaned) and paid for a new carpet.

We have had a tenant claim cook top scratches were present at move in but we had the move-in checklist and pictures showing she was incorrect.  So she paid for the replacement part (the entire top) and installation.  She was a neat freak and scratched it cleaning it to excess.  We let her out of her lease early by mutual consent.

In summary, the longer a tenant occupies a unit, the more forgiving we are about damage (even not normal wear n tear items).

We believe we are reasonable in our interpretation of wear n tear and so far we have had no significant tenant push back.  We cover out a** with move-in and move-out checklists that the tenant signs.  We also try to take photos but photos will not get everything such as paint on the cement patio (unless you photo every foot of the RE eventually there will be damage to something that does not have a photo) that takes a few hours to clean/power wash off.  Never the less, when you have the photo proving the damage was not there at move-in it just adds to the strength of the Move-in checklist.

Good luck