As a landlord/property manager you plan for ongoing maintenance and associated costs, but when repairs go beyond normal wear and tear security deposits are needed to cover these costs. As a general rule of thumb, expenses for repairing normal wear and tear items are not allowed to be deducted from security deposits. However, damages above and beyond normal wear and tear that can be attributed to the tenant can be deducted from security deposits.
Below are a few examples of items that you can and cannot deduct from a security deposit. Note, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list, rather a representative list showing the differences between ordinary wear and tear items and tenant responsible damages. Also, be sure to research specific state/local regulations regarding security deposits.
- Window coverings faded by sun
- Minor marks or nicks in walls
- Minor/moderate dirt or stains on carpet
- Small nail holes in walls
- Flooring worn due to normal use
- Faded paint
- Stains on porcelain fixtures
- Plumbing issues to due to normal use
- Large holes or marks in walls
- Broken doors or windows
- Damage from pets (including water damage from aquariums)
- Missing items (fixtures, furnishings)
- Excessive clean-up items directly related to tenant use/abuse
- Plumbing issues due to misuse