To get your Security Deposit back you need to show that you did not cause any damages to the apartment, house, or mobile home that is beyond ‘normal wear and tear.’
Normal wear and tear does not have an exact definition under the law, but it means the kind of small things that happen in any home over time. Some good examples include small marks on the walls or faded paint. Household fixtures wear out over the years, and just because something breaks after normal use doesn’t mean you have caused ‘damage’ to the home. It doesn’t matter how well you take care of the property you rent, these things are bound to happen, and your landlord can’t use your security deposit to fix them.
Some common examples of normal wear and tear are:
- Chipped, faded, or dingy paint
- Worn carpets
- Scuffed or worn finish on a wood floor
Damage is something more serious than normal wear and tear. Damages are things that will need to be repaired before someone else can move in. Some common examples of damages are:
- Kids’ crayon art on the walls
- Holes in the walls
- Broken windows
- Leaving trash in the home
- Leaving the rental extremely dirty
You are only responsible for damages caused by yourself, your family, or your guests. If the property is damaged by a storm, fire, vandals, or something else beyond your control, tell your landlord immediately. It is a good idea to keep some kind of written record of the event. A report from a fire marshal or the police are two examples.
Your landlord can’t use your security deposit to repair damages that were already there when you moved in. Learn more about how to make sure you don’t get charged for these damages in ”Before You Move In.”