What is Considered Normal Wear and Tear for your Ottawa Rental Property?

Mar 22, 2022 | News, Rental Property

Wear and tear isn’t always an easy subject when we’re talking about your Ottawa rental property.

Before tenants vacate the unit, we do our pre-move out inspection to flag any potential excess wear and tear or damage that needs to be addressed with the outgoing tenant. This is the first step in the turnover process, when we prepare to re-rent the property. Normal wear and tear expenses must be covered by property owners, but how do you know where that ends and tenant damage begins?

It isn’t always easy, but we have a few tips on identifying wear and tear.

Identifying Normal Wear and Tear in an Ottawa Rental Property

Normal wear and tear is the natural deterioration that happens to a property whenever a tenant or the owner live in that property.

It’s the normal wear and tear that will happen to any home, no matter who is living in it.

For the purposes of a rental property, wear and tear will usually include:

  • Small nail holes in the wall from where a tenant might have hung pictures, mirrors, or clocks
  • Scuff marks on the walls or in the carpet from where furniture rested
  • Worn carpet in high-traffic areas
  • Paint that has faded due to sunlight or age
  • Appliances needing repairs and replacements due to use and reaching the end of their expected life cycle

Owners are responsible for these costs because they go with the expenses that you plan on when you buy an investment home or rent out your principal residence.

We recommend that you budget for wear and tear items during turnover periods. Usually, the longer the tenancy, the lower the average cost of wear and tear. However, the expenses will come together by move out time. While the lease in place, savings equivalent to two months worth of rent will help you to cover standard items like minor repairs, cleaning and touch ups. The tenant’s last month rent deposit cannot be charged for these items.

When Wear and Tear Becomes Tenant Damage

Damage to property is different from wear and tear.

It’s damage that was caused willfully or from not being careful enough by the tenant or a tenant’s guest. Even if the damage is the result of a mistake or an accident, the tenant is still responsible to pay for it.

Maybe the tenant did not pay attention to a leaky faucet and did not request repairs on time and then while on vacation this caused a serious leak, or the tenant installed an unapproved plumbing fixture that caused damages. The cost to remediate this will be the responsibility of the tenants.

Damage repairs should be paid for by the tenant directly. To avoid any possible future claims – documentation of the damages is critical. Seasonal Inspections are important, especially inspections before the lease term begins and after the tenants move out.

Move-In and Move-Out Reports

In order to properly determine whether there’s real damage left behind at your property, we accurately document the home’s condition before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out. We always make sure to have pictures and/or videos to go with our descriptions and checklists. That way, if a tenant tries to claim that the door was hanging off its hinges when they moved in, we have evidence to the contrary.

The topic of wear and tear and damages is often an area of contention between owners and tenants.

Tenants tend to think that everything is wear and tear, and owners may see everything as damage. A detailed move in report and good communication with our residents will help us to avoid and manage any disagreements.

If you have any questions about wear and tear or anything pertaining to managing your Ottawa investment property, please contact us at E & S Property Management.