A real estate investor never gets amused seeing their property depreciate. Unfortunately, property investments keep depreciating day by day to the extent that if the property isn’t maintained and repaired constantly by a professional, it could lose its value. The regular property wear would be your responsibility as a property owner even if your tenant caused it. So, what’s the definition of normal wear and tear?
Regular wear and tear is the normal decline of a property’s condition due to its daily use. This is the deterioration that happens as tenants occupy the property and aren’t caused by neglect or abuse. Examples of normal wear include:
  • Scuffed wooden floors
  • Frayed cords or faded curtains
  • Traffic marks of the carpet
  • Furniture indentations
  • Worn kitchen bench top
  • Chipped, faded or cracked paint
  • Cracks on the walls
  • Water stains caused by a leaking roof.

Most landlords will confuse the definition of normal wear and tear for damage, but they are very different. Here are some damage examples:

  • Burns or stain marks on carpets.
  • Wooden floors that are badly scratched.
  • Missing or torn curtains.
  • Holes in the walls cause by the tenant while hammering or removing nails on the walls.
  • Damaged paint resulting from getting rid of decorations stuck using sticky tape.
  • Broken panes caused by the ball owned by the tenant’s child.
  • Broken toilet seat.
  • Carpet soaked with a resident’s pet urine.

Determining the difference between damage and wear to a rental property often becomes a problem when the tenant wants to move out and they need their security deposit back. It’s not acceptable for you as a landlord to begin making deductions for the regular deterioration, but you are allowed to make deductions for damage. This is where property managers in Scottsdale like us come in. We can make this process seem very easy no matter how complicated it gets.
When your tenant moves out, the inspection process becomes stressful to all the people involved. To minimize these disputes, we use the document that shows the condition of the house before the tenant moved in to differentiate between the original and current unit conditions. We will evaluate the repairs that need to be done and separate the wear from the damages. By hiring us to determine deterioration on your property, you can be sure that your interests are taken care of.
Your tenants have to take responsibility for the damages that aren’t ordinary. You are supposed to deduct the expenses from their security deposit. Nevertheless, they are not liable for the wearing away.

Expectations and documentations

Clear tenant expectations and proper maintenance from property managers in Scottsdale help in preventing deterioration from becoming damage. We’ll walk through the property with your new tenant before they can move in and note all the existing issues. We also do another walk through with your renters before they can move out. We use this opportunity to examine the property against the document that explains the condition of the house at the time your tenant moved in. We then compare the notes to determine the differences and separate damages from wear and tear.
As a property owner, you want to have proof showing if the tenant damaged the property so that you can deduct the repair costs from their security deposit. If no damages have been done, you will handle the wearing away all by yourself. You can choose to allow them to repair the damages before you can deduct the costs from the deposit.
If you choose not to give the security deposit back, you should be in a position to show the conditions of the property before and after occupancy. Be sure to comply with the state laws especially when it comes to the notices and deposit refunds.
It is evident that documentation is essential because improper damage records and failing to offer the needed information as specified by the law can place you in an unpleasant liability situation. You may end up paying for all the costs involved to make the unit habitable again.

Wear & tear reasonableness

The reasonableness of wear & tear is usually determined by the duration the tenant lived in your property. For example, if a tenant stayed for over four years, it will be reasonable to expect that the carpet will need cleaning and the house walls will need paint. If the tenant stayed for over six years, it’s sensible to assume that the carpet will need to be replaced.
Most courts allow the property owners to prorate the life of damaged items. In case the court believes that the carpet’s useful life in your rental dwelling is four years, the cost of replacing it will be prorated over a four-year period. You will not be allowed to charge your tenant the entire replacement amount if the item has already passed its life expectancy.
Always know that the tenant has the right to his or her security deposit and you can’t just hold it. But, the money can revert if you make a claim against the security deposit according to the state laws.

Preventative measures

Your aim is to reduce the wear, but this isn’t easy bearing in mind that tenancy agreements guarantee the tenant exclusive property possession during the lease period. Here are some tips that will come in handy:

  • Make sure you contact ex-landlords and get to know if they would accept applications from their previous tenant.
  • Have a good relationship with the tenant.
  • Inspect and maintain your property regularly.
  • Inform your tenants of what is expected of them from the beginning and that they can contact you when maintenance issues arise.

It’s always advisable to work with a reputable and reliable property management company in Scottsdale like ours, especially if you are not experienced when it comes to property management. We understand how stressful this kind of work is, particularly if you own many properties. We know all the sides of security deposit disputes, and we can settle such claims professionally and lawfully. Contact us if you live in Scottsdale and we will gladly work with you.