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What is normal wear and tear in an apartment?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2023 | Landlord/Tenant Matters |

Disputes between landlords and tenants will often involve the security deposit. This is a significant sum – often of two months’ rent – that a tenant gives their landlord when they enter the space. The idea is that the landlord can keep this money if the tenant breaks the lease or causes an excessive amount of damage. It’s a security deposit that helps protect the landlord’s investment in the property.

However, after the term of the lease has ended, the landlord is supposed to give the security deposit back if it was not needed. This is when things get complicated. For instance, a landlord may say that the tenant caused damage to their apartment and that they need to pay to fix it, so they’re keeping the security deposit. The tenant, on the other hand, will say that they only caused normal wear and tear. The landlord should have expected it, the tenant will claim, and so they shouldn’t have to pay for anything.

Examples to consider

It’s true that landlords are supposed to expect a certain amount of wear and tear simply because someone is living in the apartment. It could lead to things like:

  • Faded carpet
  • Worn floorboards 
  • Small nail holes in the walls 
  • Scuffs on the baseboards 
  • Scratches on the floor 
  • Worn patches in paint or stain 
  • Sun damage to fabrics or flooring
  • And much more

The lines can get to be a bit blurry. A tenant may claim they were just living their life and being respectful of the space, while the landlord will claim that they were causing excessive damage. You can imagine how both sides will often get into disputes about this, especially with the security deposit on the line, and it’s important for all involved to understand their legal options.