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Common Tenant Questions


While commercial property rentals allow you to demand the tenants to leave property exactly as they found it, most residential tenancies require that you allow for reasonable wear and tear to the property.

This means that, in Redmond, normally and naturally occurring damage is the landlord or property managers responsibility. Defining what is and what is not normal wear and tear, and deciding how much is fair, is important if you want to end the lease on a good note. While most landlords and property owners would prefer the minimum amount of damage possible, you can use the following list put together by Redmond Property Management to decide which damage is normal, and which is not.  

What is Wear and Tear?

Wear and tear is quite simply any damage caused by normal use or normal exposure to the elements. This can include carpet wearing down, door handles and doorknobs wearing away or breaking, sun damage, water damage on the outside of the building. This means that wear and tear is essentially time or nature related damage.  

What is Fair Wear and Tear  

While some items can look like wear and tear, they might not be. For example, if the tenant has only lived somewhere for a year, you would expect to see much less wear and tear than a tenant who has lived there for five. Performing an inspection before and after the tenant moves in, with a date, allows you to see how much time has passed and what has become damaged in that time. Good examples of fair damage include the following:  

  • Sun or Age worn paint 
  • Cracked windows due to bowing or aged frames 
  • Leaks caused by age or natural damage
  • Plaster cracks 
  • Worn flooring from use  

Generally any naturally occurring damage is your responsibility to fix, even if it is caused by a flood or an earthquake.  

Tenant Caused Damage 

Tenants are often responsible for damage, and if you find it, you can take the repairs out of their  deposit. Tenant caused damage can include:  

  • Smoke damage to paint
  • Holes in paint from nails or screws 
  • Scratched counters or flooring 
  • Broken windows or cracked window panes in a new window 
  • Pet Damage 

Contracting Out 

You can contract out of taking responsibility for some normal wear and tear by writing it in the contract. However, you do have to write this in before you lease the unit out, and you still have to take care of some repairs, unless you abscond all responsibility for repairs and make it the tenants job, in which case you will most likely be required to charge significantly less in rent.  

Property Condition Report  

It is extremely important to get a property condition report from a third party before you lease a home to a tenant. Most tenants like to be present for this, so they can examine the damage themselves. After the tenant moves out, you can use this report to file a dispute if necessary, which allows you to claim the money back for the repairs from the deposit, or on top of the deposit.  

Managing property condition including wear and tear is just one of the responsibilities you have as a landlord. If you don’t have the time or need help, Redmond Property Management can handle everything for you, including paperwork and inspections, for a small percentage of the monthly rent. 

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