What is considered

Wear & Tear

We are committed to our property owners and their investments and will do everything in accordance with the laws to make the proper claims on tenant security deposits to avoid costly litigation.

In order to comply with the Florida Judicial Law and HUD Guidelines, the below items are a reference to items that are considered to be normal wear & tear and tenant negligent damages.

Wear & Tear vs. Damages

This document is meant to provide a general overview of the difference between wear and tear vs damage when doing a security deposit return.

Security deposits can be used to repair damage for which a resident is responsible. However, the landlord cannot apply the security deposit to normal wear and tear.

The question is: “What’s the difference?”


The legal definition of “normal wear and tear” as stated in the Florida Real Estate Commission manual and defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Normal wear and tear means that deterioration which occurs, based upon the use for which the rental unit is intended, without negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises or equipment or chattels by the tenant or members of his household, or their invitees or guests.”

Damage can therefore be defined as deterioration which occurs due to negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises or equipment or chattels by the tenant or member of their household, or their invitees or guests.

The following is a list of examples and is intended as a guide to reasonable interpretation of the differences between expected ‘wear and tear’ from normal residential use and irresponsible, intentional, or unintentional actions that cause damage to a landlord’s property.

Courts have also ruled that the length of time a tenant has occupied a property must also be taken into consideration when accessing damages in relation to deductions to a tenant’s security deposit, as well as the average life expectancy of the item.

The longer a resident has resided in a property, the more allowance must be given for ‘wear and tear’ over damage.

We have included a list of items below that HUD has provided as examples of Normal Wear & Tear vs. Damages in Appendix 5C.


Normal costs of turning over an apartment after a tenant vacates may not be included on a claim to HUD for tenant damages. The costs an owner incurs for the basic cleaning and repairing of such
items necessary to make a unit ready for occupancy by the next tenant are part of the costs of doing business. The following is a list of items typically attributable to routine use or “normal wear and tear”.

Normal Wear and Tear

• Fading, peeling, or cracked paint
• Slightly torn or faded wallpaper
• Small chips in plaster
• Nail holes, pin holes, or cracks in wall
• Door sticking from humidity
• Cracked window pane from faulty foundation or building settling
• Floors needing coat of varnish
• Carpet faded or worn thin from walking
• Loose grouting and bathroom tiles
• Worn or scratched enamel in old bathtubs, sinks, or toilets
• Rusty shower rod
• Partially clogged sinks caused by aging pipes
• Dirty or faded lamp or window shades

Tenant damages usually require more extensive repair, and at greater cost than “normal wear and tear”, and are often the result of a tenant’s abuse or negligence that is above and beyond normal wear and tear.

Tenant Damage

• Gaping holes in walls or plaster
• Drawings, crayon markings, or wallpaper that owner did not approve
• Seriously damaged or ruined wallpaper
• Chipped or gouged wood floors
• Doors ripped off hinges
• Broken windows
• Missing fixtures
• Holes in ceiling from removed fixtures
• Holes, stains, or burns in carpet
• Missing or cracked bathroom tiles
• Chipped and broken enamel in bathtubs and sinks
• Clogged or damaged toilet from improper use
• Missing or bent shower rods
• Torn, stained, or missing lamp and window shades


Many major items have a predictable life span.  A list of items and their life expectancy are listed below:

Hot Water Heaters10 Years
Carpeting5 Years
Air Conditioning10 Years
Ranges20 Years
Refrigerators10 Years
Interior Painting3 Years
Tiles/Linoleum5 Years
Window shades, screens, blinds3 Years

Additional Examples

Wear & TearDamages

Small nail holes caused by a 6 penny nail or smaller. A 6 penny nail is 2 inches long and is used for hanging picture frames and other items on walls

Large holes from hanging shelving, pictures, screws,  wall anchors,  flat screen television brackets or any other wall hanging that causes damage larger than a 6 penny nail

Faded paint

Spot painting and patching or touch up painting of any kind that doesnt match and paint is within life expectancy

Faded caulking around the bathtub and tiles

Missing caulking around the bathtub and tiles

Hard water deposits

Buildup of dirt, mold, mildew or water stains from a preventable or unreported water leak or drip

Loose or stubborn door lock

Broken or missing locks

Loose hinges or handles on doors

Damage from a door from forced entry or damage from using feet to open doors

Worn carpet traffic patterns

Torn, burned, stained, missing, ripped, scratched, or snagged carpet, pet damage and flooring is within life expectancy

Faded finish on wood floors

Scratched, gouged, warped or water damaged wood floors

Linoleum worn thin

Linoleum with tears, chips or holes and is within life expectancy

Worn countertops due to daily use

Burned, cut, stained, scratched or water damaged countertops

Drywall cracks from settling

Holes in walls, doors, screens or windows from misuse, negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse

Faded, chipped or cracked paint

Unapproved or poor tenant paint job and paint is within life expectancy

Loose or slightly torn wallpaper

Severely Torn or marked-up wallpaper

Worn or heat blistered mini-blinds

Broken, bent, cracked or missing slats, wands, hardware & Broken strings.

Dirty window and door screens

Torn or missing screens

Sticky window, window that wont stay up

Broken window pane

Loose or inoperable faucet handle

Broken or missing faucet handle

Running toilet

Broken toilet seat, tank top or chipped or cracked toilet bowl

Musty odor

Urine or pet odor throughout unit

Closet bi-fold door off track

Damaged or missing bi-fold door

Non-functioning smoke or CO detector

Missing or detached smoke detector or CO detector or missing batteries

Non-functioning light fixture

Missing, burnt out, or incorrect style light bulbs

Dry lawn

Lawn with pet urine spots, dead areas, excessive weeds

Non-functioning light fixture

Missing, burnt out, or incorrect style light bulbs

Slow draining drains

Drains that are clogged by hair, toys, or other non-flushable objects


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I will have to say Elliot & eljo have one of the best maintenance managers I think you will ever find! I’ve rented with Elliot for 3 years now and I’ve never had to wait to get services! Helen is right on everything she makes sure the tenants are happy and goes above and beyond what I could ever imagine. She’s honest and caring and understands the needs of renters. Moving into a new rental recently with Elliot &eljo she made it such a better experience new properties are always scary but she addressed every need and fast! Thank you Elliot and eljo for providing us with one of the top maintenance managers I believe ever Helen great job! Also thank you for having such great staff cleaning crew they know how to make a place top notch! Also manny for being so thorough in walk through. I could have went with some other rental company but I couldn’t because you all have spoiled is every year with excellent customer service and properties! Highly highly recommend your company to anyone that wants a true rental experience.
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