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What Exactly is “Normal Wear and Tear”?

Every landlord has to cope with normal wear and tear. But what exactly does “normal” mean? 

You must comprehend how these principles are used in order for your investment’s financial affairs to stay healthy while being able to hold renters accountable when needed.

It’s occasionally difficult to distinguish between normal wear and tear versus damage caused by negligence/abuse. To keep your property business afloat and avoid possible legal issues, this article put together by the experienced team at SCUDO Real Estate delves into the matter.

Damages vs. Wear and Tear

A property that is rented frequently experiences wear and tear. This is the expected deterioration of your home as it ages, as a result of regular use throughout time. An example of wear and tear can be evidenced by the gradual dulling of the shine on your mahogany floors. It could even be considered something natural.

Your property will in fact start to show signs of deterioration and wear over time. This is particularly obvious when a renter is present; the longer a tenant that rents from you lives in a location, the more pronounced this impact is.

When a rental property has been mistreated or mismanaged, unforeseen damages arise. This kind of circumstance isn’t typical; it can have occurred by design, by accident, or even as the outcome of carelessness. These consequences reduce the property’s worth, usefulness, or unnatural functioning.

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Physical damages like cracks, scratches, or broken tiles suggest that something more serious happened. They might be caused by abuse or neglect.

What Counts as “Wear and Tear”?

Every house has normal wear and tear, including those that have obedient renters who do a great job in caring for their properties! If someone enters your home using the front door or frequently uses appliances or drawers, you’ll notice apparent indications of the level of use they gave it during its life.

Wear and tear covers a wide range of situations, such as paint jobs becoming worn out owing to filth buildup, surfaces becoming unclean over time due to soiled fingers brushing away at counter tops, and black patches where fissures were mended prior to relocation.

Some such examples of typical wear and tear include:

  • Rusted or tattered carpet.
  • Paintwork that is flaking, peeling, or stripping.
  • Torn, discolored, or faded wallpaper.
  • Window panes with cracks because of a poor base.
  • Tiles in the bathroom that have loose grout.
  • Sinks partially obstructed by aging pipes.
  • Older bathtubs, toilets, or sinks that have worn enamel.
  • Doors sticking as a result of high humidity or a move.
  • Dated floors in need of new paint or varnish.

What Counts as Unexpected Damage?

Any kind of physical harm or loss that wasn’t anticipated constitutes unforeseen damage. This might involve negligence of routine maintenance chores as well as unintentional damages or intentional acts of vandalism by your tenant(s).

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Here are examples of unforeseen damages brought on by a tenant’s carelessness or accidents:

  • Damaged floors.
  • Clogs caused by toilet misuse.
  • Doors with torn hinges.
  • Severely damaged or broken windows.
  • Burns or stains on the flooring or carpet.
  • Unsanctioned wall coverings.

When Are Security Deposits Available to Landlords for Use?

There could be a chance for compensation if you think that consequential damages have happened as a result of tenant negligence or recklessness. If you have a detailed lease agreement in place that requests tenants to pay a security deposit, you may be entitled to make use of it in the case of unexpected damages.

Should the tenant not make the necessary repairs before the expiry of the lease, you can compensate for the cost of repairs/renovations by deducting from the security deposit.

Additionally, there must be formal paperwork supporting each case for this right to be enforced, as well as an itemized list showing how much was spent on repairs associated with these damages.

We recommend that you read the Kansas Landlord-Tenant laws on security deposits to understand what you can do when it comes to compensation.

Using Before and After Images to Evaluate Damage

Always do an inspection with your tenant prior to their move-in. By doing this, you can ensure that you both are aware of any potential damages and can talk about what is expected of each party in the event that unforeseen circumstances develop during the rental period.

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Take pictures of the actual status for filing, including any pre-existing blemishes, scratches or dents, provided it is authorized by law. In the case of settling a potential dispute, these pictures might be useful.

You can take pictures and keep a record of damages if you follow the same procedure when the tenant decides to leave your premises.

Tenant Screening Could Be the Most Excellent Tool Against Property Damage

Make sure you are only letting your property to trustworthy tenants if you want to preserve your investment. Detailed background verification can assist in preventing damages brought on by carelessness or outright disrespect for the owner’s property and the rules set in the lease agreement.

A landlord must have unlimited access and undertake careful tenant screening in order to be certain that they will get the rent each month on time, in full, and that the property is well-maintained in their absence.

We realize that not all property owners have the resources to perform a thorough screening of all potential tenants. Get in touch with the expert property managers at SCUDO for a comprehensive tenant screening and selection service!

Closing Thoughts

We’re aware that maintaining a property is a difficult task. SCUDO Real Estate and Property Management is on your side!

SCUDO Real Estate stands out because of our unwavering commitment to providing great service. In order to provide the kind of attention that we as investors would need, we deliberately maintain a small portfolio of properties.

Make a call to us right away and receive a quote for our property management services!

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