A landlord is responsible for the normal day-to-day maintenance of a rental property. Things happen. As a property age, wear and tear are inevitable.
What is normal ‘wear and tear’?
Normal wear and tear are expected, gradual and unavoidable. A property’s condition will decline due to normal everyday use. If someone lives in an apartment or house, some deterioration will take place. Wear and tear is not caused by abuse or neglect.
A few small stains on a carpet, dirty grout in the bathroom or lose door handles are all examples of normal wear and tear.
Damage, on the other hand, affects the value of a property. It can be committed on purpose, or through neglect. A smashed bathroom mirror, a broken door or a carpet soaked with pet urine are all examples of real damages to a property.
Normal wear and tear cannot be deducted from a security deposit, but a landlord can make deductions for damage to a property.
A way to address damage issues is, first, to be pro-active. Prior to a tenant moving in, both the tenant and the landlord should walk through the apartment or house and document the current condition of the property.
It is a good idea to take pictures that show any current damage or defects. Both the landlord and tenant should sign off on in agreement on the current condition of the property.
When the tenant is moving out, changes to the condition of the property can be easily noted and compared with the initial move-in walk through. The landlord can now explain why there will be deductions from the security deposit if any. The tenant is free to agree or dispute the landlord’s findings.
It is a dispute. What now?
A landlord can file a suit in the small claims court of California to pursue tenants for damages that they have caused. Tenants can also counter-sue if there is a dispute.
Are you a tenant or a landlord on the wrong end of a property damage lawsuit? We can help.
Reach out to schedule a free consultation with us today. (818)507-8525; info@KJTLawGroup.com.