Don Krupens is an attorney with Lawvex.com and he joins us on the podcast to demystify wear and tear with rentals. This is a confusing subject for landlords, property managers and tenants too.
We go over a variety of scenarios in this podcast ranging from wear and tear caused by kids, wear and tear caused by a wheelchair and how wear and tear is defined.
Wear and Tear with Rentals – Click The Big Green Play Button To Listen
Don shares some insights on past court cases and the different types of wear and tears you may encounter with your rental properties.
One of the things I learned was that there is a difference between wear and tear that happens over time and the kind of damage that happens instantly.
If a tenant’s foot traffic causes wear on the carpets that is different than a tenant dragging something across the carpet that tears a line in the carpet. One of these was done over a long period of time where the damage happened instantly.
How Does Wear And Tear Apply For A Tenant In A Wheelchair?
If your tenant is wheelchair bound they have a different set of ways they engage with their environment. Their mobility needs are different so the expectations of wear and tear are different as well.
If there are rub marks on a door frame that could be considered normal but if they slam the door repeatedly into the drywall that could be considered damage.
You will want to consider the different mobility needs of a tenant that utilized a wheelchair and how that can impact wear and tear in a different manner. Overall though, if the damages were caused by a sudden event than those might be considered damages and not wear and tear.
What About Kids With Wear And Tear?
Again, this is determined by the nature of the damages. Kids can create more foot traffic and more wear and tear but if they’re creating sudden damages in the rental than this might go beyond wear and tear. If they broke blinds or colored crayons on the walls than these types of things are considered damages and can be deducted from a security deposit.
Can I Deduct Wear and Tear Costs If I Do Repairs Myself?
This will vary from state to state, in California you can deduct the costs. You’ll want to check your state laws because some states may not allow you to deduct costs if you’re not hiring a licensed contractor to do the repairs. Hat tip to Becky from the Facebook group on this question.
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It was mentioned that there would be a note about DIY pertaining to New York in the podcast – I am interested in the answer. Can you charge the security deposit for DIY work in NY State?
I asked our property manager friend Andrew Schultz about this and here is what he said…
“I actually called my attorney on this. I was always under the impression that a landlord could not charge for their labor. But he indicated to me that a landlord can charge a reasonable hourly rate for doing the work. They just need to be prepared to defend that rate in court, as well as the expenses for materials and such.”