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Property Damage or Normal Wear and Tear? Norfolk Property Management

Property Damage or Normal Wear and Tear? Norfolk Property Management

A Norfolk rental property undergoes deterioration due to different factors, such as negligence, mishandling, weather changes, and warranty of things. The difficult part is to differentiate between damages caused by tenants and normal wear and tear.

The following information can help you to identify normal wear and tear and significant damage, and their respective liabilities. 

What is Normal Wear and Tear?

Minor wear and tear refer to small repair issues or changes that occur during and after the tenancy. It can appear over time due to the tenant's use of a rental property. 

Often a non-occupied house also undergoes regular wear and tear. It is a gradual deterioration of the house that cannot be controlled. 

These are some of the most common examples of regular wear and tear:

  • Minor scratches on the wall

  • Torn carpet

  • Wonky door knobs

  • Fading of wall paint

  • Stained floor or bathroom tiles

What is Property Damage?

Unexpected property damages harm the rental unit and are beyond minor maintenance issues. They occur due to negligence, misuse of the property, or accidentally. Both tenants and landlords are responsible for these types of damages. With deferred maintenance, such issues can become severe over time and result in costly repairs and replacements.

The significant property damages include:

  • Holes in the walls or doors

  • Broken window glasses

  • Damaged flooring

  • A broken mirror or toilet sink

  • Stained walls

  • Broken or non-functioning appliances

  • Cracked roofs

  • Improper structural repairs

  • Blocked sewage

How to Identify Property Damage and Wear and Tear?

Damages affect the usefulness, value, and normal functions of the property. They can occur intentionally or accidentally, due to negligence. For example, tenants can be considered responsible for damages like a smashed mirror, broken toilet seat, a hole in the door, shaky handles, soaked carpet with pet urines. These damages occur when tenants carelessly handle the property and will be considered as misuse of the property.

Negligence comes into the picture when tenants tried but could not stop the damage from occurring. For example, spilling paint unknowingly or wearing down of a carpet due to people walking on it. 

Some damages can occur accidentally. For example, if tenants have guests with kids, they may drop a drink on the floor, staining it. Despite it being an accident, it will be considered as property damage and charged accordingly. 

The Liabilities

It can be challenging to determine the nature of the damage and the liability of the parties. However, the chances of disputes between landlord and tenants are high if the duties are not mentioned in the lease agreement for your Norfolk rental property.

  • Liabilities for Normal Wear and Tear

Under the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, normal wear and tear due to aging of the property, such as fading paint, are the expected outcomes of tenancy and the cost of doing rental business. Landlords are responsible for repairing or replacing minor fittings, fixtures, and leakages. 

Tenants are not liable to pay for normal wear and tear unless they are furthering the aging process. If tenants are irresponsible and intentionally damaging the property, they must pay for repair issues.

  • Liabilities for Property Damage

Negligence, misuse, and mishandling can cause considerable property damage. Landlords can deduct the repairing charges from the security deposit paid by tenants. However, if the cost of damage repairs exceeds the value of the security deposit, tenants must pay compensation. 

Close up of Hands with Screwdriver Fixing Socket

Though landlords are not responsible for the damages that occurred during tenancy, they must get it repaired on priority. Tenants are equally obligated to report to landlords about the damage. If the damage occurs due to a third party not familiar with landlords and tenants, landlords are responsible for repairing those damages.

Maintaining a rental property is time-consuming and challenging. It becomes difficult to run inspection, differentiate between normal wear and tear or property damages, and repair those all by yourself. Doud Realty Services can assist you in identifying whether the damage is normal or intentional, and help you maintain your Norfolk rental property. Reach us at Doud Realty Services for further assistance.