A rental house can undergo several changes in the course of occupancy. While some changes may occur as a result of normal wear and tear, others might happen due to the renters’ negligence. The challenge is to determine the difference between the two. Owners often find it difficult to distinguish between the nature of damage and this leads to disputes with the tenants.
Here are some tips to understand the difference between regular wear and tear and unanticipated or inflicted property damage.
Deterioration vs Destruction of Property
It is common for the property’s condition to deteriorate with time. The furniture, the appliances, the overall structure, and the appeal of the house start to wear off. This is known as normal wear and tear. It does not happen accidentally or due to any kind of mishandling by the tenants. Normal wear and tear are inevitable for your Philadelphia rental, even while it is vacant.
Property damage, on the other hand, is unexpected damage or harm caused to the property due to mishandling of property. It is avoidable and often occurs due to the negligence of the tenants, and is hence termed as destruction of property.
Examples of Normal Wear and Tear vs. Property Damage
There can be numerous instances of damage in a rental house. During an inspection, it can be tricky to categorize them as wear and tear or damage, so here are some examples to make your job easier.
Examples of normal wear and tear include:
- Fading wallpaper
- Carpet wear
- Small stains on the carpet
- Faded paint
- Scratches on the wooden floor
- Dusty windows or doors
- Loose door knobs or handles
Some examples of property damage include:
- Burnt or torn carpets
- Holes in the mattresses
- Broken doors or windows
- Damaged curtain pipes or missing curtains
- Missing keys
- Broken home appliances
Managing Repair Expenses for Damage and Wear and Tear
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to carry out routine maintenance and repairs, fix ordinary wear and tear, and make sure that your Philly rental is safe and habitable. However, fixing property and accidental damages that occur due to improper handling or misuse by the tenants on your own can be expensive. Hence, the tenants are accountable for paying for such replacements or repairs.
If they refuse to pay for the same, the landlord has the authority in Philadelphia to deduct the amount from the security deposit or keep the entire deposit, depending upon the cost of the repairs.
Stipulating Liabilities Clearly in the Lease Agreement
Maintaining the rental is the shared responsibility of the landlord and the tenants. Monthly inspections, regular maintenance, and immediate repairs can help the landlords deal with the wear and tear issues and prevent them from worsening.
The tenants can prevent the other damages if they use the rental with utmost care. They should also inform the landlord about any issues that may arise and submit maintenance requests on time.
Specifying the liabilities in the lease is the best way to effectively deal with property damages. It helps both the parties be aware of their individual duties, thus preventing any unpleasant clashes in the future.
As a new landlord in Philadelphia, you may not always have complete clarity on local laws related to wear and tear and property damage.
In such a scenario, hiring a Philadelphia property manager to handle your rental property can be a good decision. Professional real estate experts in Philadelphia, such as TCS Management, can help you understand the nitty-gritty of rental management and also assist you with proactive maintenance and claiming damages from the tenants when necessary.
For more details, connect with us at TCS Management.