Sloane Realty Blog

The Dreaded "Normal Wear and Tear"

Sarah Turocy - Monday, October 22, 2018

Whenever anybody lives in any house, there is going to be some normal wear and tear on the property. Both tenants and owners can be greatly assisted by understanding what kinds of things are considered normal wear and tear and what kind of things are not. 

When people live in a house, time moves on.  As time moves on, the house will age. There will be scuffs on the walls, the carpet will be worn, finishes will rub off of faucets and handles, and other things will happen in the course of everyday normal living in the property. We will not penalize a tenant for living in the house, since that is exactly what we contracted with them to do.  When the tenants leave, the house will not be returned to the exact condition in which they took possession, but rather in its appropriately aged form. 

As an example, let’s compare it to having someone watch your child (we’ll say a son for the sake of pronoun clarity) during summer break. Even if the person that you designate to care for your child does the best job possible, the child will be returned to you in a slightly different condition than when you handed him. He will be older, his hair will be longer, he may have fallen and have scrapes or scars that were not there the last time you saw him. This does not mean that the person caring for him did a bad job, rather it means that normal life continued while you were away.  Inherently, you know this.  

Though this comparison may seem silly, in many ways this is exactly what happens when a person hands over a property to a property manager and subsequently to a tenant.  Children grew older; so does the house. It is just growing older under someone else’s care. Time cannot be expected to stand still for the property once it has been left by its original owner. 

The important takeaway here, is that even though you may have to do some maintenance to your child once he has returned to you--a haircut, new shoes, maybe vaccinations (or not--this is definitely not the place for that debate), or replace the clothes he may have outgrown, the value of the child has not been diminished because he grew older and made some changes. Likewise, the value of your property has not been diminished by the tenants.  It has aged and just might need a few sprucing-up touches.