Is it Damage or Wear & Tear? Handbook for Chula Vista Landlords - Article Banner

A landlord is required to run regular inspections to assess the property condition. It could be a pre-renting assessment, a move-in evaluation, or a move-out inspection. These inspections are necessary if they need to distinguish between normal repair issues and actual damage in the future, to determine who will pay for repairs. Hence, landlords and tenants need to know the difference between normal wear and tear and significant damage.

In this article, we take a look at what constitutes wear and tear and what constitutes intentional damage, with the help of examples.

Normal Wear and Tear

Normal wear and tear imply a gradual degradation that occurs with the growing age of the property. It is an expected deterioration during the tenancy and does not affect the value of your Chula Vista property significantly. The typical examples are:

  • Faded paint
  • Minor stains on the carpet
  • Dings or scratches on the wood floor
  • Loose door handles

Property Damage

Property damage refers to the unexpected harm caused to the property due to negligence, misuse, or abuse of the property. It can decrease the market value and functionality of your house. Examples include smashed window glass, broken toilet seats and sinks, a big hole in the middle of the door, and missing handles of the door. These damages are unexpected and lead to investing extra money for making the necessary repairs.

It is tricky to differentiate between normal wear and tear and significant damages. The following information may help Chula Vista landlords in determining the type of damage.

  • Carpet – Torn or Worn?

Good quality carpets have a life of about 6 to 7 years. Since it is difficult to clean the carpet regularly, color fades over time. Some stains and worn patches that occur due to regular heavy use are valid in the case of daily use.

However, cigarette holes, torn carpets, and significant stains that occur due to pet mishaps, vomit, or drink spills are considered property damage.  Landlords can charge tenants for the remaining life of carpet unless they prove the carpet was new.

  • Walls and Paint Issues

Minor nail scratches, faded or peeled paint, cracks, and scuff marks on the walls are considered regular wear and tear. 

On the other hand, large dents, portions of scraped paint, collage, direct painting with crayon color, drilling, damage caused by hanging pictures, or half removed wallpapers are damages. You may need a professional to repaint the wall and fix the dents in your Chula Vista property, which will cost you more.

  • Normal Wear and Tear in Flooring

In the case of hardwood flooring, the life span of the floor is around 24 years. The flooring may lose shine and color due to frequent walking on it. Like hardwood, tiles also lose their luster, while the ground between the tiles may get yellowish or dirty. This is normal wear and tear.

However, deeply scratched hardwood, missing pieces of flooring, and marks of pet claws are the inflicted damages. Cracked tiles, missing pieces, or moldy tiles appear due to lack of cleanliness and negligence.

  • Home Appliances

Locked compressor, sudden failure in fan motor, smelly or wobbly washing machines, the inefficiency of a cooling system, broken garbage disposal, blocked gas outlets, burned-out light bulbs in refrigerator or microwave and are the part of normal wear and tear. They occur due to frequent or overuse of home appliances.

The real problem occurs when tenants misuse the appliances and do not follow the instructions while operating. For example, overloading in the washing machine may cause damage to the bearings and will end up in leaking pipes and breakdown of the appliance.

  • Furniture and Couch

Furniture and CouchA couch is made of foam, leather, or wood. Minor cuts and scratches are valid and considered a part of normal wear and tear while stained fabric due to drink spills, sagging seats, and a broken frame are outcomes of misuse and require replacement of the couch.

Identifying the difference between wear and tear and property damage often requires the experience and expertise of a professional. Encore Realty is a leading property management company in Chula Vista, with over 10 years of in-depth experience in the real estate market. If you need any help in determining the nature of damage, liability, or maintenance needs, contact us at Encore Realty.