In most jurisdictions, landlords are able to deduct the cost of damage that occurs during your tenancy period from your security deposit.  However, most jurisdictions have laws that prevent landlords from deducting those damages that are "normal wear and tear."

What is the Difference between Normal Wear and Tear and Deductible Damage?

The following are some examples of normal wear and tear and deductible damages: 

  • Normal Wear and Tear:
    • Faded paint
    • Old carpet that is either worn from age or has visible furniture marks
    • Broken plumbing pipes
    • Dirty blinds
    • Dust
    • Faded curtains
    • Bulbs that have gone out
    • Pin holes if they are not excessive
  • Deductible Damages:
    • Excessive holes in walls from hanging pictures
    • Removal of decals or paint from the wall
    • Tears in carpets
    • Animal stains in the carpet
    • Broken windows
    • Broken or cracked doors
    • Clogged drains caused by misuse or negligent attendance
    • Broken or missing blinds
    • Flea elimination
    • Excessive bathroom mildew
    • Broken shelves or compartments in the refrigerator
    • Excessive dirt or filth in the oven or stove

Should I Contact an Attorney about Security Deposit Deductions?

If you are a landlord who is being challenged on security deposit deductions, or are a tenant who feels they have been unfairly charged by your landlord, the advice of a landlord-tenant attorney can be extremely helpful.  An experienced landlord-tenant lawyer can explain how the laws in your area affect your rights and duties.