Tenant Damage versus Normal Wear

Tenant Damage versus Normal Wear

Tenant Damage versus Normal Wear can be confusing for many. Normal wear is essentially the deterioration of an item that occurs under normal conditions. Tenant damage usually requires more extensive repair, and at a greater cost than “normal wear”, and is often the result of a tenant’s abuse or negligence that is above and beyond normal wear.

Normal costs of turning over a rental property after a tenant vacate MAY NOT be charged to the TENANT. The costs an OWNER incurs for the basic cleaning and repairing of such items necessary to make a unit “rent ready” for the next TENANT are part of the cost of doing business. The following is a list of items typically attributable to routine use or “normal wear and tear”.

Examples of Tenant Damage versus Normal Wear:


  • Worn or loose hinges on doors or locks
  • Doors with holes. Broken doors. Damage to door or doorframe from forced entry.
  • A few small nail holes, minor marks on or nicks in wall
  • Large or substantial holes or dents in wall.
  • Scuffed up floors
  • Badly scratched or gouged floors
  • Loose or inoperable faucet
  • Broken or missing faucet.
  • Toilet runs or wobbles
  • Broken toilet seat or tank top
  • Faded, cracked or chipped paint
  • Crayon marks, writing on walls, unapproved paint color or excessive dirt requiring more than one coat to cover
  • Carpeting/blinds showing average wear or fading by sun
  • Torn, stained or burned carpeting or curtains
  • Vinyl flooring worn thin
  • Vinyl flooring with tears, holes or burn marks
  • Worn or scratched enamel or stains on old porcelain fixtures that have lost their protective coating
  • Chipped and broken enamel in sinks and bathtubs or grime-coated bathtub and/or toilet
  • Bathroom mirror beginning to “desilver”.
  • Mirrors broken, missing or caked with grime
  • Worn gaskets on refrigerator
  • Broken refrigerator shelves, trays, bins or bars
  • Worn countertop
  • Burns or cuts in countertop
  • Cabinet doors that will not close
  • Greasy, sticky or broken cabinets and interiors.
  • Closet door off track
  • Damaged or missing closet door
  • Dusty blinds
  • Missing, broken or bent slats on blinds
  • Cracked window pain from faulty foundation, building settling or high wind
  • Broken windows or torn or missing screens
  • Food odors or smoke that dissipate over a few hours
  • Smoke damage to paint from smoking or burning candles or burning incense
  • Loose grout or tiles
  • Missing or cracked tiles
  • Partially clogged sinks caused by hard water
  • Clogged or damaged toilet caused by improper use
  • A dead bush or two which exceeded their lifespan
  • Neglected landscaping which must be replaced with similar plantings


Tenant Damage versus Normal Wear

After determining if an item requires replacement due to a Tenant’s abuse or neglect (not normal wear), to calculate Tenant’s responsibility, a Landlord must know: (a) actual cost to replace the item, (b) how long an item would be expected to be useful before it wears out (its “useful life”), (c) current age of the item, and (d) its remaining useful life. Landlord may only charge Tenant for the remaining useful life of an item.

Sample Life Expectancy Chart per the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development*

Hot Water Heaters10 yearsAll Units
Plush Carpeting5 yearsFamily
 7 yearsElderly
Air Conditioning Units10 yearsAll Units
Ranges20 yearsAll Units
Refrigerators10 yearsAll Units
Interior Painting-Enamel5 YearsFamily
 7 YearsElderly
Interior Painting-Flat3 YearsFamily
 5 YearsElderly
Tiles/Linoleum5 YearsFamily
 7 YearsElderly
Window/Shades/Screens/Blinds3 YearsAll Units

*If these items were in good condition at the time of move in, at it can be shown that damage, above normal wear and tear has been sustained, then a charge against the Tenant’s security deposit can be applied. Sample Life expectancy chart from United States Housing and Urban Development.


Cost of new dishwasher: $400

Useful life of dishwasher: 10 years

Age of dishwasher at the end of tenancy: 4 years

Remaining useful life: 6 years (10 years less 4 years)

Tenant Responsibility: $400 x .60 = $240

Life Expectancy Chart for Homes

Note: Life expectancy varies with usage, weather, installation, maintenance, and quality of materials.  This list should be used only as a general guideline and not as a guarantee or warranty regarding the performance or life expectancy of any appliance, product, system, or component.

There are many different resources to understand the predicted life expectancy of appliances, products, materials, systems, and components. One such chart is InterNACHI’s Standard Estimated Life Expectancy Chart for Homes.

Consumers, inspectors, and professionals advising their clients should note that these life expectancies have been determined through research and testing based on regular recommended maintenance and conditions of normal wear and tear, and not extreme weather or other conditions, neglect, over-use or abuse. Therefore, they should be used as guidelines only, and not relied upon as guarantees or warranties.

Ultimately, Landlords and Nevada Property Managers are governed by NRS 118.242A:


NRS 118A.242  Security deposit: Limitation on amount or value; surety bond in lieu of security deposit; duties and liability of landlord; damages; disputing itemized accounting of security deposit; prohibited provisions.


    1.  The landlord may not demand or receive a security deposit or a surety bond, or a combination thereof, including the last month’s rent, whose total amount or value exceeds 3 months’ periodic rent.

      2.  In lieu of paying all or part of the security deposit required by the landlord, a tenant may, if the landlord consents, purchase a surety bond to secure the tenant’s obligation to the landlord under the rental agreement to:

      (a) Remedy any default of the tenant in the payment of rent.

      (b) Repair damages to the premises other than normal wear and tear.

      (c Clean the dwelling unit.

      3.  The landlord:

      (a) Is not required to accept a surety bond purchased by the tenant in lieu of paying all or part of the security deposit; and

      (b) May not require a tenant to purchase a surety bond in lieu of paying all or part of the security deposit.

      4.  Upon termination of the tenancy by either party for any reason, the landlord may claim of the security deposit or surety bond, or a combination thereof, only such amounts as are reasonably necessary to remedy any default of the tenant in the payment of rent, to repair damages to the premises caused by the tenant other than normal wear and to pay the reasonable costs of cleaning the premises. The landlord shall provide the tenant with an itemized, written accounting of the disposition of the security deposit or surety bond, or a combination thereof, and return any remaining portion of the security deposit to the tenant no later than 30 days after the termination of the tenancy by handing it to the tenant personally at the place where the rent is paid, or by mailing it to the tenant at the tenant’s present address or, if that address is unknown, at the tenant’s last known address.

      5.  If a tenant disputes an item contained in an itemized written accounting received from a landlord pursuant to subsection 4, the tenant may send a written response disputing the item to the surety. If the tenant sends the written response within 30 days after receiving the itemized written accounting, the surety shall not report the claim of the landlord to a credit reporting agency unless the surety obtains a judgment against the tenant.

      6.  If the landlord fails or refuses to return the remainder of a security deposit within 30 days after the end of a tenancy, the landlord is liable to the tenant for damages:

      (a) In an amount equal to the entire security deposit; and

      (b) For a sum to be fixed by the court of not more than the amount of the entire security deposit.

      7.  In determining the sum, if any, to be awarded under paragraph (b) of subsection 6, the court shall consider:

      (a) Whether the landlord acted in good faith;

      (b) The course of conduct between the landlord and the tenant; and

      (c The degree of harm to the tenant caused by the landlord’s conduct.

      8.  Except for an agreement which provides for a nonrefundable charge for cleaning, in a reasonable amount, no rental agreement may contain any provision characterizing any security deposit under this section as nonrefundable or any provision waiving or modifying a tenant’s rights under this section. Any such provision is void as contrary to public policy.

      9.  The claim of a tenant to a security deposit to which the tenant is entitled under this chapter takes precedence over the claim of any creditor of the landlord.

      (Added to NRS by 1977, 1334; A 1981, 11841985, 14142009, 4882021, 400)


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