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What Is Normal “Wear and Tear” in a Rental Property?

New rental property managers or someone who’s just started with a new property management company may wonder what constitutes normal wear and tear on a rental property compared to what constitutes damage to a rental property.

Normal wear and tear can be vaguely defined as the depreciation that occurs through normal daily living in the home. But what does that actually mean? Let’s look at some examples of the differences between normal wear and tear and damage.


Matted carpet is normal wear and tear, the result of people walking back and forth or furniture sitting in the same place for many months or even years. Burned or stained carpet, however, is damage.


Small nail holes in the walls, from hanging photos or small knick-knacks, is normal wear and tear. Large holes in the wall are damage. Fading or yellowing paint is normal wear and tear, while large wall stains are damage. Loose wallpaper is normal wear and tear, while crayon markings, ripped paper or large stains are damage. Worn electrical switches or receptacles are normal wear and tear, while ones that are missing, melted or burned are damage (Note: melted or burned ones may not be the tenant’s fault if there is an electrical problem).

Hardwood, Linoleum & Tile Floors

Lightly scuffed hardwood floors are wear and tear, scratches, chips and deep gouges are damage. Worn linoleum is wear and tear, while holes in it are damage. Loose or mildly cracked tiles are wear and tear, missing or shattered tiles are damage.

Windows & Window Coverings

Faded curtains are wear and tear, while stained or torn curtains are damage. Dirty window screens are wear and tear, while cut or missing screens are damage. A cracked windowpane because the building settled is wear and tear, while a shattered window from a baseball being thrown at it is damage.

Hiring a local real estate management company can help avoid some of the damage. Rental property managers from a property management company or local real estate management company can perform regular inspections to ensure that damage is caught before it becomes more severe. The knowledge of a potential inspection can keep tenants on their best behavior, preventing damage before it starts.

Ask us how Barker Realty can help you today!

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests,

but also to the interests of others..."

Phil. 2:4