Tenants moving out is always stressful. Landlords worry about how the rental will be left, and tenants just want to get their bond back.
Your lease agreement states that the tenant should leave the property how it was when they moved in, except for ‘normal wear and tear.’
But what does that mean?
Tenants think that landlords charge for every little scratch and owners believe that tenants aren’t careful enough and should pay for the damage they have caused.
The problem is there is no precise definition of ‘normal wear and tear.’
The easiest way is to hire a Property Manager who has experience with all aspects of working with tenants, and they will be able to give you clear guidelines on what to expect.
But if you do not have a property manager, there are some things you can do to protect yourself as a landlord and as a tenant.
Put it in your lease
The best way to avoid issues is to document it in writing. Make sure you have this clause in your rental agreement and write in detail what is considered normal.
For example, worn carpets, paint chips and nail holes from hanging pictures are considered normal.
But provide some examples of what you would expect tenants to pay for, such as; stains on the carpets, gouges out of the wall (where hanging pictures went wrong), chunks out of the wooden floors, broken windows – or broken anything.
If you have a range of options, then the tenants can see what to expect. If there will be pets, make sure you clarify how you want the rental left when they move out. Are scratches on the floor or walls acceptable?
Take lots of photos
When new tenants are moving into the property, take lots of photos or video of the property to minimise any disputes when they move out. Walk through the house together and point out any areas that you are aware of. Encourage the tenant to add to the list.
At True Property Management, we do regular inspections of all of our rentals, and we take lots of photos of every room in the house. We then send it to the landlord in a report.
Repair as soon as possible
Tell your tenant to call you if anything breaks. Small things can quickly add up. If repairs aren’t urgent, the tenant should document it and take photos, so you have a record of it.
Have various agreements for different situations
Something that most landlords don’t take into consideration when writing their contracts is who will be living in the property.
This can drastically affect what condition the property will be in when they move out. What is ‘normal wear and tear’ for a single professional will be radically different to what is ‘normal wear and tear’ for a family of 5 with a cat and a dog.
You mightn’t expect the walls to be painted, but you will probably get a few more dents on the wall and maybe some stains on the carpet. It’s worth the extra effort have an agreement that covers different situations.
Normal wear and tear
So in the end, normal wear and tear it comes down to someone’s word against another. Repainting, cleaning the carpet and a few nail holes and marks are normal, but if it’s more than that, it could be a problem. So take precautions, write it clearly in the contract, or ask for it to be written out, taking pictures, even ask questions about what to expect, then write it down and sign it.
Contact True Property Management to take care of all of your inspections, find great tenants and determine what is ‘normal wear and tear’ when they move out.