Normal Wear And Tear Vs. Damage: What’s The Difference? | blog

Normal Wear And Tear Vs. Damage: What’s The Difference?

Every landlord and renter knows all besides well that no lease unit can remain pristine everlastingly. Over time, there ’ mho bind to be some damage to the suite from sustained use. If the damage is dangerous enough to impede enjoyment of the unit, or if it ’ s caused by negligence on the share of the tenant, this can quickly become an issue for both parties. That ’ randomness why most lease agreements set out a stipulation that damage beyond convention wear and bust is grounds for either withholding a security/damage deposit in B.C., or seeking damages through the Landlord & Tenant Board in Ontario. What precisely constitutes “ normal wear and tear ”, though ?
In this article, will be defining this nebular subject, equally well as providing definitions and examples and resources to help both landlords and tenants recognize the difference between normal wear and tear and wrong, a well as tools and resources to help navigate disputes .

Table of Contents

What is the difference between normal wear and tear and damage?

Most standard lease agreements will mention conditions for maintaining the condition of the rental whole, specifying that convention break and tear is expected, but extra damage is to be paid for by the tenant consequently. We ’ ll provide some examples in the take after section, but to give a blanket definition, normal wear and tear is by and large considered to be any damage that is minor, doesn ’ thymine affect the livability of the unit, and is caused by reasonable, everyday use. When there is a significant dispute in the quality of the unit, specially if it ’ s caused by neglect or intentional natural process, this crosses the channel into damage .
Since this dispute is thus hard to recognize and prove, the topic can often result in drawn-out disputes between landlord and tenant. We ’ ll discourse province at length in a late section, but typically landlords are responsible for initially providing proofread of damage, while renters besides have the opportunity to prove that the damage was either already or there, or is actually caused by normal use. Things like little scuffs on floors, wear carpet, or chipped paint are closely always viewed as convention wear and tear, while large holes in walls or pet-stained carpets are typically seen as wrong.

If you ’ re in doubt about specific situations, it ’ s always best to defer to your lease agreement. Before a tenant moves into a unit of measurement, they must complete a Condition Inspection Report which outlines any issues or preexistent damage in the whole. This means, when it comes prison term for them to move out, there ’ s a clear phonograph record of the exact condition of the unit anterior to their occupancy. For landlords, including a lease addendum about security deposits and damages is a great idea american samoa well, as it makes clear precisely what degree of wear and tear is acceptable, and what to do in the event of a quarrel .

Examples of normal wear and tear vs. damage

Every situation is different, and unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for recognizing and deciding whether something is or international relations and security network ’ thyroxine convention wear and tear. With that being said, the following types of damage are about constantly seen as normal wear and tear :

  • Faded or chipped paint
  • Scuffed floors
  • Loose taps/faucets
  • Worn carpet
  • Dirt build-up around windows
  • Cracked doorframes due to age

While the take after is broadly considered to be damage :

  • Scratches/burns on kitchen counters
  • Stains or burns on carpets/scratches on floors
  • Broken/damaged appliances
  • Missing/broken blinds
  • Drastic paint jobs/wallpapering that weren’t previously discussed
  • Large holes in walls

Remember that this international relations and security network ’ t an exhaustive list, and ultimately any kind of price is up to the tenant and landlord to discuss when performing a move-out inspection. As constantly, the best way to make clean what is convention wear and tear and what is damage is to lay it out in net, written software documentation at the beginning of the occupancy .

What to do when there’s a dispute

As with most rental-related issues, there ’ sulfur constantly the probability that landlord and tenant won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate see eye-to-eye when it comes to whether or not there ’ south damage to the rental unit. With such a immanent topic, particularly one where money is at stake, it ’ randomness slowly for confusion to arise as to what ’ south considered wrong, and what ’ second caused by reasonable function. thankfully, each canadian province has its own process for resolving these types of disputes. Let ’ s look quickly at how process work in Ontario and B.C .

Dispute resolution in Ontario

remember that in Ontario, landlords can not legally require a security or damage down payment to be paid at the fourth dimension of move-in. rather, in the event of any damages to the unit, the landlord should provide a list of the damages and any associate charges. If the tenant chooses not to pay, or disputes the charges, the landlord can apply to the LTB to determine whether or not damage exists, and if so, what should be done about them .
As we mentioned previously, the charge of validation is in the first place on the landlord to explain and demonstrate to the tenant that the damages are severe adequate and weren ’ thyroxine there at move-in. Following this, the tenant has the luck to provide their own argument and evidence as to the damage either already being there, or being normal wear and rip .

Dispute resolution in BC

In B.C., the process is a little more square. Since damage deposits are typically requested upon move-in, the landlord can simply inform the tenant that they intend to keep part, or all of the deposit to cover whatever wrong occurred. As in Ontario, proving that the price a. ) was caused by the current tenant, and bel. ) warrants damage and not normal wear and tear, is originally the landlord ’ second responsibility. Once the landlord has made absolved to the tenant what the damage is and what they must pay for it, the tenant has the opportunity to refute the charges and provide evidence that the wrong was preexistent .
In order to actually keep some or all of the damage deposit, B.C. landlords must obtain the tenant ’ s written consent, or an ordering from the Residential Tenancy Branch to keep the money, if an agreement can ’ thyroxine be reached independently. B.C. besides has its own unique dispute resolution march, which can besides result in an order being given to the tenant to pay the want amount .
To read more about the dispute resolution process in B.C. and Ontario, take a look at our article on the subject here.

Renters: tips for getting your security deposit back & preventing damage charges

Renters obviously want to do everything in their ability to avoid either having their security deposit withhold in B.C. or early provinces where they ’ rhenium permitted, or being charged for damages in Ontario, where security deposits aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate permitted by law. Once the damage is there, it ’ s difficult to avoid being charged, but there ’ s plenty you can do to avoid losing money for damage you didn ’ t cause .
here are a few tips for protecting yourself against unfair charges and preparing for a conflict-free move-out :

  1. Document any existing damage During your move-in inspection, ideally, make sure you’re making note of any pre-existing damage to the unit, and confirm the landlord is aware of it. It’s also a good idea to take photos or notes for your own record in order to further protect yourself in case the landlord tries to dispute the issue.
  2. Use a moving checklist – Whenever you move, it’s a good idea to use a moving checklist to ensure you’re ticking off all the many boxes that come with a move. We’ve prepared our own moving checklist with everything renters need to navigate their move with ease.
  3. Educate yourself on tenancy laws – While the definition of wear and tear vs. damage rarely varies between province or country, the process for resolving disputes can. In addition to studying up on what defines normal wear and tear, renters should familiarize themselves with their province’s dispute resolution process, and what happens in the event of damges.

Landlords: tips for maintaining your unit & avoiding disputes

For landlords, keeping their unit in tip-top shape and avoiding unnecessary costs is a huge precedence, and essential to keeping their rental operation profitable. Damages that go beyond convention wear and bust can be a huge load, and it ’ s significant to make sure your bases are covered and you ’ ve made acquit to the tenant precisely what the rules and responsibilities are. Recognizing different types of wrong and knowing the proper avenues for claiming compensation are key parts of your speculate as a landlord, and it ’ s crucial to have this vital information .
here are some tips for ensuring your unit is maintained by rights, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as avoiding disputes in the event of damages :

  1. Screen tenants thoroughly – The best way to ensure your unit stays in good shape throughout a tenancy is by having a robust, efficient process in place for screening tenants. The new & improved Trust Score from is a great place to start, with free comprehensive credit reports, a unique trustworthiness metric and an updated layout that’s easy to understand, even at a glance.
  2. Create and follow a maintenance schedule – There are many parts of a rental unit that need to be regularly checked, and most of them are also areas where damage can occur. Having a plan in place to maintain your unit gives you the opportunity to stay on top of damage before it occurs, and ensures everything is functioning as it should.
  3. Perform regular inspections – There are numerous opportunities for landlords to check up on the condition of their rental unit, with permission and adequate notice to the tenant(s). Move-in and move-out checklists are hugely important for making sure you’ve properly documented any damage, but inspections throughout the tenancy are important for spotting warning signs and noticing other damage before it becomes a problem.
  4. Create and discuss a detailed list of charges – During the selection & move-in process, be upfront with the tenant and provide a complete list of potential damage, and the associated charge if it’s found in the unit. While not necessary, the tenant will appreciate having clear guidelines, and it will make your life easier in the event of a dispute over charges later on.

Frequently asked questions: normal wear and tear vs. damage

Are dead lightbulbs normal wear and tear?

While dead light bulb wouldn ’ t necessarily be considered damage, they are technically a tenant ’ mho duty to replace throughout their occupancy, unless a previous agreement was made or specialized lightbulbs are required. With that being said though, ensuring everything is working in the suite anterior to another tenant moving in would be the landlord ’ s duty .

Can a landlord charge for damages after you move out?

Yes, but specific guidelines for seeking recompense depend on the province. In B.C., security deposits must be returned within 15 days of the tenant moving out unless the tenant agrees to let them keep all or some, while in Ontario, landlords have one year to seek compensation for damages .

Are marks on the wall fair wear and tear?

This depends on the type of marks. While small indents from a door handle hit or scuff marks from objects brushing against the wall over time are broadly considered convention wear and pluck. however, crayon or marker marks, big scuffs, or cryptic indents/scratches tend to warrant damage. At the end of the day, it ’ s up to the landlord to decide whether the wrong is reasonable or not .

Is chipped paint fair wear and tear?

again, this is subject on the situation. While chipped or peeling key is expected over time, if the damage is more good or clearly caused by a tenant ’ second negligence, there are grounds for it being termed price .

What can a landlord deduct from a security deposit?

In terms of dollar amounts, a landlord can only deduct a reasonable sum required to fix the intend damage, and entirely with the tenant ’ second written accept ( or an regulate from the Residential Tenancy Branch ).

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