What is Considered Wear and Tear?
Nothing is going to remain perfect if you have tenants residing in your rental property. And, this is not because your tenants did not care for it – but because they were busy living life. When that happens, so does wear and tear. It happens because life happens.
But how do you know what is considered wear and tear and what is considered damage? We’ve got the answers you have been looking for.
You will see worn patches and darker areas in more heavily trafficked areas as your average wear and tear. If you see large stains, holes or torn carpet, or pet-soiled areas, then you are looking at more damage.
Tile or hardwood floors
Hardwood floors will likely lack shine and appear very dull (or dusty in appearance). Tile grouts get dirty and dark over time, as well. Both of these things are normal wear and tear. However, if you notice pieces of the flooring missing, cracked or chipped tiles, or deeply scratched hardwood floors, your property has been damaged.
Depending on what you allow your tenants to do, you may find your walls painted a different color or holes in the wall from hanging pictures and decorating. If you don’t allow this type of activity, then you may consider this to be damaged. Though, if you do allow it, then this is minor wear and tear. Also, finding cracks that appear as a settling foundation is considered to be normal wear and tear while holes in the wall from furniture or fists are not.
Doors and windows
These items should be in working order. Dirty screens, squeaky doors, etc. are considered wear and tear. However, anything worse than this, such as holes in the door, cracked windows, broken handles or latches should be considered damage.
Drains need to be maintained. It is normal for drains to clog during extended use, but it is generally up to the renter to maintain the clear pipes. Regularly cleaning out hair and other debris from the bathroom drains and not clogging drains with inappropriate items will keep them running smoothly. Any damage resulting from improper care of the renter may be a bit more than wear and tear.
You cannot expect your rental home to remain in near perfect condition. Use your judgment when it comes to determining whether something is wear and tear or if it is considered damage. Think about these: What does your home look like? What would result from daily living? Remember that wear and tear come from living life. Keep this in mind as you do your walk-through and you shouldn’t have any trouble at all.
Marina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Realty & Rental Homes Property Management is the author of many articles on Landlording, Property Management, and Real Estate Investing. A residential builder in the state of Georgia since 1999, Marina is an investor herself. Her property management company is intended “For Investors” and “By Investors” for a simple reason – she knows what investors’ goals are and she works hard to reach their goals. In her spare time, Marina likes to spend time with her family, friends, garden, read and travel. Check her out at www.alhpodland.com. You can find Marina’s articles and comments at @rentalhomesatl on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, Blogger. and YouTube,Bigger Pockets and REI Club and LinkedIn.