For half a second, you worried about the couch squeezing through the front door. But now, sweet victory is yours as you fill up the kitchen cabinets in your new abode. Having signed a year long rental agreement, you are finally unpacked and settled in for your first meal under a new roof, when you stop for a moment and think “Will I ever see my security deposit again?”
If you read the fine print on your lease (standard leases, at least) you might find a clause that says normal “wear and tear” and even describes regular use. Most tenants fall under the regular use category. But setting fire to the carpet, on purpose or accidentally, is not going to fall under normal wear and tear, no matter how many house plants you place over the burn spot. So what exactly, does regular, wear and tear mean?
Wear and Tear
When describing average use, many landlords expect higher use items like flooring and appliances to be worn out faster than say, a kitchen cabinet or a light fixture. You’re usually on your own for light bulbs, too. But consider that hardwood flooring lasts years longer than linoleum, so the type of flooring or fixture matters. You’d have a run a lot of laps across a hardwood floor or ceramic tile to wear it out in a 12 month span as compared to a plain linoleum floor.
But most renters will scuff a wall, put a nail into a wall to hang artwork, or drip food on the carpeting. Things like this happen and most landlords expect to minor cosmetics such as paint and spackle for the walls, and a deep cleaning the carpeting at every tenant move out. Typical wear and tear involves light scratches on the wood floors, wear spots on the carpeting (but not stains), loose railings or tiles. Minor damage is easy and inexpensive to repair or fix. Major damage, the kind your security deposit cringes over, is more expensive to repair or fix (think full carpet replacement for that burned spot). If the landlord has to replace all the carpeting, your security deposit could be at risk.
Fix It or Leave it?
Deep gouges in flooring, broken glass in windows/torn screens, broken appliances, pet stains/odors, custom wall paint, extras like closet shelving, light fixtures or window treatments, are all significant items tenants usually are responsible for fixing.
Check your checklist
Move-in day checklists are highly recommended by both tenants and landlords to keep all items verified condition upon move in. Tenants want to verify all appliances, for example, are performing great on day 1. Landlords want to know if something is out of whack, and that the current tenants are not responsible for it. A checklist is the ideal opportunity to make sure both parties are in agreement from Day 1:
- Walk through the rental together
- Take photos of any flaws you see with your smartphone or device
- Collect them into a photo page
- Provide a full checklist of all items and have both tenant and landlord sign off on them.
Soggy paws are part of being a dog owner and many times, the floors of an apartment take a beating year round for landlords. But for many renters, home is where their pet is and gladly bring Fido and Fluffy along to the tune of up to a full month’s rent for a pet deposit. Often the pet deposit is not refundable, due to the typical wear and tear many canines (and felines) can cause to a property. Pet stains, pet dander, and claw/scratch marks can linger far longer after the tenant moves out, causing a lot of extra work to prep the property for the next tenant.
But if you love your pets, the extra pet fee is well worth it, to keep the happy family together.
Did you know?
In addition to helping with rentals, Fox Valley Homes offers full broker service for regular and distressed listings, for all buyers and home sellers, as well as investors in residential properties across the northern Illinois and Chicago region. All team members are trained to coordinate short sales effectively and retain the full skills and expertise of fully licensed Realtors®, including access to the resources of the local Illinois MLS database.
For more information, please contact Jennifer Kinzle, e-PRO, SFR, (630) 854-4360. Email me direct firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Kinzle, e-PRO, SFR Broker
Direct/Text: (630) 854-4360
Facebook: Fox Valley Homes – Jennifer Kinzle, Broker
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Charles Rutenberg Realty of Illinois
1733 Park St, #150
Naperville, IL 60563