Upon vacating a rental property, Residents can be charged for damages to the property beyond "normal wear and tear." This definition begs the question:
What is Normal Wear and Tear?
Normal wear and tear is best defined as "the expected deterioration of a property through normal use." Normal wear and tear is not caused by abuse or neglect.
Normal Wear and Tear versus Damage
When assessing a rental property at Move Out, landlords are basically determining if each items that needs repair or updating is Normal Wear and Tear or Damage. Damage can be charged back to the outgoing residents, usually deducted from the security deposit.
Length of Lease
An important factor when determining if something is normal wear and tear or not is how long the tenants resided in the property. For example, if 2 people lived in a 650 sqft carpeted apartment for 3 years, it would be normal wear and tear for the carpet to have walking tracks throughout; The damage to the carpet should not be charged to the tenants. However, if 2 people rented the same 650 sqft carpeted apartment for 6 months, we would not expect major damage to the carpet.
Common Wear and Tear Items
Assuming a standard 12 month lease, below is a list of items commonly found at turn over that ARE considered normal wear and tear. Outgoing Residents should (usually) not be charged for these items:
Small tack and nail holes in the walls
Dirty grout / caulking
Loose door handles, toilet, faucets, or hinges
Burnt out light bulbs / appliance bulbs
Any scratches, dents, or other small items that were present at move in
Assuming a standard 12 month lease, below is a list of items commonly damaged in rental properties. Residents should expect to be charged for the repair of the following items:
Items left in the rental property or left near the dumpster
Unapproved alterations, including painting
Large holes in the walls (usually to mount a TV, large picture, shelving and/or mirror)
Broken or missing doors, locks, window coverings, plumbing or light fixtures
Stains or burns on flooring, counter tops, or walls
Broken toilet bowl, seat or tank
Missing, dirty or broken appliances
Lost garage door openers
Pet damage (chewing, urine, feces, excessive smells)
Move Out Cleaning
Sagareus expects outgoing residents to clean upon vacating; However, the property will be professionally cleaned at turnover.
As long as a good faith effort was made to restore the property to original condition, we will not charge back cleaning.
A few important notes on cleaning:
Cleaning vendors charge extra for deep appliance cleaning; Outgoing residents often miss this step. Deep clean the oven, fridge, and dishwasher inside and out to avoid additional cleaning charges.
Carpet shampooing is always done at turn over and charged to the outgoing residents. We've experienced residents renting shampooers in effort to shampoo, but we will still need to shampoo the carpets after the turn over work is completed. With the discount we receive from our carpet cleaners, it's most cost effective to allow Sagareus to coordinate the carpet shampoo.
Normal Wear and Tear Conclusion
When I started in Rental Management, my mentor taught me that we don't make a profit off our Resident's security deposits. We accurately assess actual damage and charge back only when necessary. Our residents are our customers and need to be able to live in the property while they are renting. Good faith effort on the part of outgoing residents should be recognized and appreciated with a full deposit refund less carpet shampoo.