Florida Law allows for Landlords and Property Managers to charge for damages that occur to a property above “Normal Wear and Tear”. This question is often asked however the government has not yet released any hard evidence to differentiate between what is Normal and what is considered Damage. In essence, a Landlord can expect that when a tenant leave a property, it should be returned back in it’s original condition, minus normal wear and tear.

Even the most conscientious tenant will cause minor damage over the course of a rental agreement which is typically referred to as “normal wear and tear”. It might include small scratches on the walls or paint, worn or slightly stained carpeting or other insignificant damage. Having to repaint the property, clean the carpet and repair a few minor items after each tenant moves out are to be expected due to normal wear and tear, and not something a Landlord can expect to charge tenants for.

We consider “Normal wear and Tear” to be the normal deterioration which occurs to a property naturally and without regard to any negligence, carelessness, accidents or abuse to the property by the tenants of their guests.

Damage would then be considered anything caused by the negligence, carelessness, abuse or accident of the tenants and their guests.

We have endeavored to compile a list of scenarios that are to represent a reasonable interpretation of the difference between Normal Wear and Tear and Damages. We use this reference to determine our charges and claims. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and is meant as a rough guide only. Please also keep in mind that every situation is different and judgement calls must be made in the event an item falls between the two scenarios.

Wear and Tear

 

Damage

 

Small nail holes caused by “penny nails” Large holes from screws, wall anchors or brackets
Faded or worn paint Non-matching touch up painting or patching
Faded caulking around tub/shower Missing or mildewed caulking
Hard water deposits Dirt/mildew/mold build-up from preventable or unreported leaks or drips
Worn out keys Broken, lost, or unreturned keys or knobs
Loose hinges or handles Damaged doors or hardware from forced entry
Worn carpet traffic patterns Torn, burned, stained, missing, ripped or snagged carpet.
Faded finish on wood floors Scratched, gouged, warped, or water damaged floors.
Linoleum worn thin Linoleum with tears, chips or holes
Worn counter tops due to daily use Burned, cut, stained, scratched or water damaged counters
Stain on ceiling from rain or water leak Unreported leaks, smoking, cooking grease stains
Faded, chipped or cracked paint Unapproved or poor tenant paint job
Loose wallpaper Ripped or torn wallpaper
Heat blistered blinds and frayed cords Blinds with bent or broken slats
Hard to open window (sun damaged frame) Broken window or tabs
Toilet rocking Broken seat, tank top, chipped bowl, or running toilet
Musty odor Urine, pet or smoke odor
Non-functioning smoke detector Missing or detached detector
Non-functional light fixtures or wiring issue Missing, burnt out, or incorrect light bulbs

These are some examples of the differences between Normal Wear and Tear and Damages in order to help Owners understand the differences and what can and cannot be charged in a security deposit claim.

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