General Landlording & Rental Properties

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Is damage to mini blinds considered normal wear and tear?

Posted Jul 27 2019, 15:40

My tenants just moved out and every set of mini blinds were broken and need to be replaced.  The tenants were decent and rented from us for 6 years and other than the blinds, the rest of the house is in good shape. I know blinds are cheap but there are a lot of them that need to be replaced.   Also, I've always had blinds in my personal residence and have never managed to break them.   Would you give them a pass on the blinds? Is this considered normal wear and tear?

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Brooks Rembert
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Woodbridge, VA
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Brooks Rembert
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Woodbridge, VA
Replied Jul 27 2019, 18:48

Hi @Kent Hegwood, If they rented from me for 6 years, I'd chalk it up to normal wear and tear.

I know it's a pain in the azz to replace them and will probably set you back a couple hundred bucks, but you have to admit, those things break just by looking at them and they were there for 6 years.

"cost of doing business" and claim it on your taxes.

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Sam Shueh
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Cupertino, CA
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Sam Shueh
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Cupertino, CA
Replied Jul 27 2019, 19:19

New ones look better and cleaner. It is just wear and tear.

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Replied Jul 27 2019, 20:13

Ok, thanks for the help! I will let it go!

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Brian Hughes
  • Seattle, WA
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Brian Hughes
  • Seattle, WA
Replied Jul 27 2019, 20:50

for some reason even good tenants mangle blinds.    I have a great resident,   totally responsive, always pays on time,  etc etc.   but within a couple years the new blinds were toast.    Rest of unit is fine.    I've given her old but better blinds out of other units on turnovers to keep things looking decent from the outside.

I'll +1 the sentiment that if the tenant was in there more than a couple years,  consider it cost of business.

I've started putting the 2 inch blinds in on updates instead of the 1 inch ones.   The 1 inch plastic ones sag and discolor,  the metal ones get bent out of shape in no time.   The 2 inch ones are a bit more expensive,  but so far seem to be a lot more durable,  not to mention easier to clean.

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Replied Jul 27 2019, 20:55

Blinds are cheap, but I'd look at getting some curtains at a second hand store.

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Matt R.
  • Blue Springs, MO
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Matt R.
  • Blue Springs, MO
Replied Jul 28 2019, 15:03

If you plan to put new blinds in this rental, or if you have similar blinds in your other rentals, maybe save some of the hardware from the broken blinds before you toss them - particularly the tilt rod (the long plastic thing you spin to tilt the slats), the plastic cones or pulls on the ends of the operating strings, and maybe the buttons or plugs on the bottom of the bottom bar that hold the lift strings to the bottom.

When I bought my rental, it had blinds everywhere that were mostly in OK shape, but some of them were missing the above items, and I couldn't source them locally as individual parts.  You can get the parts online, but it bugged me to pay $3 for the parts and $7+ for shipping.  What I finally did was go into a dollar store that had some new blinds on closeout, buy a couple random sizes for like $2 or $3 each, and then cannibalize the parts from them.  (They didn't have any sizes that matched what I needed - I looked.)

The mounting brackets that go on the ends are usually available at the hardware store or even Wally World.  Sometimes you can get the pulls/cones locally too.  The other stuff is hard to find locally, at least in my experience.

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Bryan Devitt
  • Contractor
  • Oxford, MA
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Bryan Devitt
  • Contractor
  • Oxford, MA
Replied Jul 28 2019, 15:08

Get new blinds that don't have the string and rod. Home Depot normally has them and will cut them to length for you. They're fabric and spring loaded, so you just pull or push them up and down. There is no way for them to break unless the internals break. Then it is no question if it is wear and tear or the tenant. If they're dirty or mangled the tenant pays and if they don't move anymore then you do 

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Lien Vuong
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Boston, MA
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Lien Vuong
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Boston, MA
Replied Jul 28 2019, 18:50

I would write that off as wear and tear and perhaps be open to buying better quality ones the next time. Given that you got six years out of it from a good tenants I think you've gotten your money's worth for it. 

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Replied Jul 28 2019, 19:16

Great ideas, thank you!

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Grant Delmonte
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Washington
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Grant Delmonte
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Washington
Replied Jul 30 2019, 17:36

It's the reality that they have been around for six years, and it may get you back a few hundred dollars. 

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Replied Jul 30 2019, 17:42

Yes, it's probably considered normal wear and tear at this point. Life expectancy of blinds, especially cheap ones, aren't very long. 

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