wear and tear
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wear and tear (by AJHC [CO]) Sep 3, 2008 7:15 AM
       wear and tear (by Barbara [VA]) Sep 3, 2008 7:28 AM
       wear and tear (by Laura [VA]) Sep 3, 2008 7:34 AM
       wear and tear (by ctlandllord [CT]) Sep 3, 2008 8:04 AM
       wear and tear (by Brenda [TX]) Sep 3, 2008 8:08 AM
       wear and tear (by sid [MO]) Sep 3, 2008 8:44 AM
       wear and tear (by Natalie [CA]) Sep 3, 2008 8:58 AM
       wear and tear (by RR78 [VA]) Sep 3, 2008 10:16 AM
       wear and tear (by BillS [CO]) Sep 3, 2008 11:51 AM
       wear and tear (by AJHC [CO]) Sep 5, 2008 12:36 AM

wear and tear (by AJHC [CO]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 7:15 AM

State Specific Question About: COLORADO (CO)

What is normal wear and tear? Is the definition contingent on number of residents, length of tenancy, quality of house?

My situation:

I have talked with a few resources I know, in my area (Jefferson & Weld Counties), about normal wear and tear, and have the Mr. Landlord materials, too. I'm still confused, though, about what constitutes normal wear and tear. I've just read a post, for example, that stated LL is responsible for general cleaning; others (incl. Mr. LL) expect that a rental be returned in the same clean, good condition as when rented, which is stated in my lease. I'm dealing with my first vacating tenant. The family (2 adults, 3 young sons)lived in the house--just remodeled, painted, carpeted, etc.--for only 6 months. It took a housekeeper 9 1/2 hours and me 5 1/2 hours to clean it and wash walls and took me a few days to do some repairs (woodwork, blinds, door frames, yardwork, paint, little-boy urine on wall & down into carpet, e.g.). Should I bear the cost of the general cleaning? The tenant claims to have before & after photos and third party witness to move-out condition...and so do I. They say they left it just as good if not better than when they moved in and expect all their deposit back. (Because of tensions and his bullying-type behavior a week before moving out, I did the inspection after they left.) I have documented and deducted for damages and for cleaning, mailed the reports and remainer $ yesterday, but sit on pins and needles anticipating his angry response and lawsuit. Do I, or do I not, have the right to deduct for cleaning? Is it to be expected (normal w&t) that vinyl will be torn moving appliances, or that, when kids live there, walls will have excessive marring and blinds will need to be replaced? Thank you in advance for helping. I'm very nervous about this. Experience will be a good teacher. --207.200.xxx.x

wear and tear (by Barbara [VA]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 7:28 AM

Alot depends on local laws and the judges. From what you are describing, that is not normal wear and tear. 6 years, maybe normal wear and tear...but 6 months, I doubt it.

My advice would be let his number go to voice-mail when he calls. If you do end up haveing to talk to him, just keep repeating you handled the security deposit in accordance with the law (which you did I hope). Do not get into an arguement with him. If he threatens a lawsuit, remain calm. Threats of lawsuits are normal and expected (at least with my tenant pool). Rarely do they follow thru on them. Sometimes when I'm feeling frisky, I'll say something to the effect of "If you give me your attorneys number, I'll see that either I or my attorney forward all pertinant documents to them." So far that has put an end to the attorney threats.

I'd tell you to relax, but being new to this, that's probably easier said than done for you. --71.176.xx.xxx

wear and tear (by Laura [VA]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 7:34 AM

First the easy questions: no, torn vinyl, broken blinds, and marring on walls is NOT normal wear and tear. You can and should charge the security deposit for them.

As far as the cleaning goes, that is a more grey area. I've been told that you can deduct for cleaning you had someone else do, but (in many states) not yourself. If the cleaning charges come before a judge, it is best to have pictures that show the problem clearly. Still, not all will fly with a judge. Things like dusty baseboards, ceiling cobwebs, dusty shelves, and the outsides of windows are in the grey area. That kind of stuff I just plan on doing myself, because no tenant's idea of 'clean' comes close to mine.

One thing that might make you feel better: a lot of tenants make a big stink about having charges deducted from their security deposit, but if you have documenation (pictures, receipts) to back up the charges and they know it, they won't take the issue and further than threats. THey're going to try to scare you. If you're right about this, don't let them. --71.63.xx.xxx

wear and tear (by ctlandllord [CT]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 8:04 AM

It is an issue of length of time not really who lived or how many lived there.

so just because they had kids does not make you absorb more in expense when they move out.

If only 6 months did they break a lease??

no vyln should not be torn. I save the literature when I purchase. ie 10 year warrantee. --69.118.xx.xx

wear and tear (by Brenda [TX]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 8:08 AM

Urine on walls is NEVER EVER normal wear and tear. You can charge for the cleaning lady, but most states do not allow you to charge an hourly fee for yourself to clean. I wouldn't worry about it, you have documentation and IF he decided to take you to court (doubt it) then you put your case in front of the judge, worst case you lose and have to pay it all back, I doubt that will happen though. --167.6.xxx.xx

wear and tear (by sid [MO]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 8:44 AM

Agreeing with above. Here's a good litmus test if you have something that doesn't have a warranty expressed like ctlandlord's example:

Some is dirty but still functions...gray area. It depends on your lease.

Something is busted...this is NOT wear and tear. A broken blind is just that...broken. A carpet that is slightly matted is still functional. Tenants pay for broken stuff unless it is so old that time cause the breakage. Time causes things like rust, woodrot, gradual (emphasis...over a looooong period) weardown. Broken happens in a few seconds to otherwise good material.

Not a perfect test, but a guideline. Again, tenants threaten all the time. Ignore their calls and send the remaining deposit (or bill if not enough to cover breakage) back per state law.

I charge $15 per hour for cleaning and supplies. Never had a complaint from tenant or judge. Local laws and magistrates will dictate what you can charge, if anything. --204.80.xxx.xx

wear and tear (by Natalie [CA]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 8:58 AM

Dirt is not wear and tear. From what you have described I would definitely subtract for cleaning. If they decided to take you to court, which I doubt, you will deal with it at that point. --71.202.xxx.xx

wear and tear (by RR78 [VA]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 10:16 AM

One way to explain what normal wear is to think about how long these items are made to last and what normal people do.

Normal people do not have to replace blinds every 6 months.

Have pictures and only communicate with them in only in writing and let them take you to court.


wear and tear (by BillS [CO]) Posted on: Sep 3, 2008 11:51 AM

Just relax a little. Sounds like you have documented what things were like on your end. Tenants often threaten law suits and lawyers. You did your job. I would charge for everything. IF they take you to court, and a big IF then the judge can decide. I know of no state laws regarding your labor. Boulder may have some local ordinances which you need to look in to if it applies.

I use $25 per hour as that is about the cheapest I can hire it done by others. If I am taken to court and lose I will adjust accordingly. I sleep at night (knowing I am fair and reasonable) even though the tenants may rant and rave about how unfair I am.


wear and tear (by AJHC [CO]) Posted on: Sep 5, 2008 12:36 AM

A big Thank You to all who have replied so far. (I'll keep checking!) You have such good ideas and words of wisdom. I understand "normal wear and tear" much better now and have some good responses for the phone calls. (I got one today, as a matter of fact. They are wanting me to send before and after photos of cleaning and repairs and receipts to prove I spent their deposit $ the way I said I did. I asked her to put the request in writing.) After reading your replies, I'm more confident that I have been MORE than fair and reasonable and have not charged anything wrongfully. Thank you! --207.200.xxx.xx

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