temp-post-image "NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR" (...and how this affects Your Rights as an Owner)

One of the most common disputes between landlord and tenant is the disposition of a tenant's security deposit. The basic rule for owners to remember when collecting a security deposit is that the deposit is refundable at the termination of tenancy unless the tenant fails to pay rent or fails to return the unit to the condition that existed at the time they took possession - exclusive of ordinary wear and tear.

Normal wear and tear to carpets, drapes, and other furnishings cannot be charged against a tenant's security deposit. Normal wear and tear includes simple wearing down of carpet and drapes because of normal use or aging, and includes moderate dirt or spotting. In contrast large rips or indelible stains justify a deduction from the tenant's security deposit for repairing the carpet or drapes or replacing them if that is reasonably necessary. One common method for calculating the deduction for replacement, prorates the total cost of replacement so that the tenant pays only for the remaining useful life of the item that the tenant has damaged or destroyed. For example, suppose a tenant has damaged beyond repair an eight-year-old carpet that had a life expectancy of ten years, and that a replacement carpet of similar quality would cost $1,000. The landlord could properly charge only $200 for the two years' worth of life (use) that would have remained if the tenant had not damaged the carpet.