Normal Rental Wear and Tear

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What’s Considered ‘Normal Wear and Tear’ in a Rental?

The one thought on every renter’s mind on move-out day (aside from “How the heck am I going to get this sofa through the front door?”) has to do with the security deposit.

According to most leases, your only hope is to return your apartment in the same condition as when you took possession, beyond “normal wear and tear.” Still, though, this raises the question: What exactly is normal wear and tear, and what crosses the line?

So what qualifies as ‘normal wear and tear’?

Unfortunately, when it comes to pinpointing wear and tear, there’s no specific laundry list of flaws that landlords will find acceptable to leave behind.

Normal wear and tear is light damage that occurs over time and doesn’t affect the use of the home or appliances; it’s just not aesthetically pleasing. Other examples of normal wear and tear are light scratches on wood floors, wear spots on carpet (but not stains), and loose railings or banisters.

Here are some of the most common items that tenants are responsible for fixing that is beyond ‘normal wear and tear’:

● Excessively scratched or gouged floors

● Broken windows or torn screens

● Broken or non-working appliances

● Pet stains and odors

● Custom wall coverings such as paint or wallpaper

● Any installations like shelving, light fixtures, or window treatments

Just to be safe, as a new tenant, document everything! Fill out that move-in checklist and don’t sweat the small scuffs. However, in hopes to get refunded your security deposit, be clean, careful and leave the property in the condition (or better!) than you found it.

For rental property questions contact our Property Management Department at (402) 721-8171 or visit on the web.

Maggie Hiatt

Don Peterson & Associates
Property Management

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