“Ordinary wear and tear” is defined as deterioration to a home or property, its features, equipment, furnishings, appliances or appurtenances, that occurs without negligence, carelessness, or abuse, by a tenant, a member of the tenant’s household, or other persons on the premises with the tenant’s consent.

Normal wear and tear is to be expected, but if the damage to a property is in excess of normal wear and tear, it may be considered “tenant responsible damage” and the repair costs may be withheld from the tenant’s security deposit.  Damage can result from misuse, negligence, excessive build-up of dirt or waste, intentional or unauthorized alterations, and even from accidents.  Damage may also be defined as abuse, injury, or destruction of a product that causes permanent deterioration to the product before it has reached the end of its normal service life, or acceptable period of use.

The following non-inclusive list may be used as a guideline for what is normal wear and tear and what is damage.

Normal Wear and Tear

Property Damage


Light smudging on the walls and near the light switches that can be cleaned or wiped away.  One or fewer nail holes per 6 feet of wall space.

Crayon,  marker or pencil marks, or decals that leave residue or take off paint and require painting to repair.  More than one nail hole per 6 feet of wall space.  Large holes or gouges.  Excessive smudging of walls.


Flooring worn thin from ordinary use, traffic patterns.  Fraying carpet due to seams unraveling.  Fading color due to sunlight exposure.

Ripped, pulled up, torn, or stained flooring.  Pet stains or odors, bleaching or discoloration, tears, stains, or burns.  Matting of carpet fabric from roller wheels of desk/office chairs or furniture.


Fading, peeling, or cracking.  Dry or sun exposed paint.

Scuffed, gouged, marred, or worn off due to scrubbing.  Unauthorized or improper painting of walls.  Mismatched paint color or sheen.  Improper patching of holes.


Minor marks, doors sticking, warping, or creaking from humidity.

Holes in door panels, broken hinges or frames, missing knobs or locks.


Windows Sticking or difficult to open/keep open.

Broken glass. Torn or missing screens.


Rusting appliance parts. Digital display or clock stops working.  Noisy dishwasher.  Leaking plumbing or parts.

Dented or broken appliances. Deep scratches or abrasions. Parts missing. Unreported inoperable appliance.

Window Blinds and Coverings

Window Blinds Gears stick, difficult to operate.  Broken cord.

Torn or bent. Slats or parts missing. Cords knotted and tangled.

Grounds / Yard

Thin lawn due to lack of fertilization.  Weeds in planters. Trees need trimming. Dead plants or trees due to natural causes.

Dead or bare lawn due to improper irrigation.  Holes or pet urine burns to lawn. Dead plants or trees due to lack of watering.


Warped cabinet doors.  Hard water residue.

Cracked or broken floor or countertop tiles or damage to their finish. Excessive grease or grime buildup to any surface or appliance.