Normal wear and tear in California is not always easy to define. Everyone has a subjective opinion on what constitutes tenant damage and what is actually wear and tear. This is an important distinction, especially when it comes to returning a security deposit.
Normal Wear and Tear in California: Inspection Reports
Conducting move-in and move-out inspections will help you determine what kind of damage or wear and tear was left behind by your tenant. Before someone moves in, do a thorough inspection and document everything with photographs and video. You’ll want to capture how the floors look, the walls, the ceilings, and the appliances. Take pictures of the countertops and the cabinets. After a tenant moves out, you can take the same pictures and video and compare the condition of the home to its condition at move-in. This gives you proof of any damage for which the tenant should be held responsible.
Normal Wear and Tear in California vs. Property Damage
Normal wear and tear is any deterioration that is due to the age of the property and the fact that someone is living there. For example, small holes in the walls from where paintings were hung are normal. A few light scratches on a floor is normal, and faded carpet in high traffic areas over the course of a few years is also normal wear and tear. However, large holes in the walls or broken floor tiles and torn carpet are examples of damage.
Normal Wear and Tear in California: Communicating with Tenants
It’s important that your tenants also understand the difference between wear and tear and damage. When you’re going over the lease agreement or discussing move-out procedures, make sure your tenants understand what they’ll be responsible for after they move out. Talk about your documentation process so they know what to expect. Remember that tenants are entitled to do a move-out walk through with you before they vacate the home so they have a chance to repair or rectify anything that might impact their security deposit.
This can be a difficult thing for property owners and landlords to understand, and security deposit disputes can end poorly if you’re not careful. If you’d like to hear more landlord tips or you have questions about property management in California City, please contact us at JBL & Associates.