A rental property is a great investment, and can be a good source of income. As a landlord you can expect some signs of wear and tear. However, it is important to distinguish this normal wear and tear from considerable damage, which will need repairs. In cases of actual damage, the security deposit paid by the tenant can be used by the landlord for the repairs.
Normal Wear and Tear
Fading paint is inevitable, even when the tenant is very conscientious and takes good care of the property. A few small holes on the wall from hanging pictures can also be considered normal wear and tear.
Carpets may wear out due to constant use, and also show some discoloration. Dust and dirt in some amounts is normal in most properties.
Dirty blinds and curtains that have faded with use are also part of normal wear and tear that occurs with time. Blind pulls or strings may also be worn or frayed due to constant use.
Plumbing that needs to be fixed is the landlord’s responsibility. Mold that grows in damp areas as a result of broken pipes can also be considered normal wear and tear, if the tenant notified the landlord of the same, and the landlord was not prompt in initiating repairs.
The following conditions can be defined as actual damage, and the landlord can use part of the security deposit or the entire amount to perform repairs on the property.
Stripped paint, markings on the wall and torn wallpaper are not part of normal wear and tear. Too many holes in the wall can also be considered actual damage.
Torn carpets also constitute permanent damage, as do stains, burns and blotches on carpets. Deep scratches on wood floors is also considered actual damage.
Stains and odors on the floor or carpet because of pets are also considered damage, as they can be quite time consuming to remove.
Though light bulbs that do not work anymore are part of normal wear and tear, broken fixtures and furniture can be used to claim for damage compensation.
Doors or windows that are broken, or have cracks on them constitute permanent damage that is intentional or because of careless use.
Though some dust is normal in any living space, an excessive amount of dirt, grime and dust in a dwelling is considered damaging. Sometimes such dirty surroundings may require expensive professional cleaning.
If a tenant has pets, it is their responsibility to ensure that the animals are kept healthy and free of parasites. Some pets can leave behind a flea infestation that requires professional treatment and removal.
In the kitchen, the stove, oven and refrigerator are used on a daily basis and one can expect some signs of usage. However, broken compartments in the refrigerator or damaged burners on the stove are the result of negligence or carelessness and constitute actual damage. All the appliances must be in good working condition. The oven must also be working well and kept clean.
In the bathroom, the formation of mildew to an extent that requires professional treatment is considered damage. The pipes must be working well, without any drainage problems that could be the result of improper use.