Tenant Damages vs. Normal Wear and Tear

Wear and Tear vs. Tenant Damages

Florida Law allows landlords and property managers to charge tenants for damages that occur at a property above “normal wear and tear”. We get asked what that means quite often, and the government has not yet released any hard evidence to differentiate between what is Normal and what is considered Damage.

We consider “Normal Wear and Tear” to be the normal deterioration which occurs to a property naturally and without regard to any negligence, carelessness, accidents or abuse to the property by the tenants or their guests.

Damage would then be anything caused by the negligence, carelessness, abuse or accident of the tenants and their guests. This can include “improvements” that are not completed correctly (such as painting and touching ceiling or baseboards, or not matching paint correctly).

The following is an incomplete list of scenarios that are to represent a reasonable interpretation of the differences between Normal Wear and Tear and Damages. We use this reference to determine our charges and claims. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list, and is meant as a rough guide only. Also keep in mind that every situation is different, and judgment calls must be made in the event that an item falls between the 2 scenarios.

Wear and Tear

Damage

1. Small nail holes caused by “6 penny nails” or smaller. Large holes from screws, wall anchors, or brackets. 2. Faded or worn paint. Non-matching touch up painting or patching. 3. Faded caulking around tub/shower. Missing or mildewed caulking. 4. Hard water deposits Dirt/mildew/mold build-up from preventable or unreported leaks or drips. 5. Worn out keys. Broken, Lost, or Unreturned Keys or Knobs. 6. Loose Hinges or Handles. Damaged doors or hardware from forced entry. 7. Worn carpet traffic patterns. Torn, burned, stained, missing, ripped, or snagged carpet. 8. Faded finish on wood floors. Scratched, gouged, warped, or water damaged floors. 9. Linoleum worn thin.

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Military Move-Outs – Policy and the Law

RE/MAX Infinity is proud to support and house a large number of our military men and women that get stationed in our area. One topic that comes up quite often is the exact Military Move-Out procedures. We follow the law and Florida Statutes, and will completely honor the Military Clause for all of our service members and their families.

For reference, the Florida Statutes regarding Military Move-Outs can be found at the following address:

Landlord Tenant Law: Florida Statutes 83.682

The most misunderstood and often confusing section of this for our tenants, is in reference to item (2) “The notice to the landlord must be accompanied by either a copy of the official military orders or a written verification signed by the servicemember’s commanding officer.” Unfortunately, due to the nature of training at Whiting Field and NAS Pensacola, servicemembers are not always given a 30 day notice prior to receiving their orders. By law, we are required to start the 30 day “clock” after we have received  the orders, or a letter from a commanding officer.

It is important to keep in mind that we cannot begin marketing the home, or start the move out process until either the orders or a letter have been received by our office. In the event we are able to re-lease the property before the 30 day notice has expired, then a prorated rent will be returned to the tenant based on the occupancy date of the new tenants.

We are also asked about Military family members, especially unmarried significant others. It is our company policy that if a servicemember receives orders, then all family members are also released from the obligations of the lease agreement. This means that wives/husbands, girlfriends/boyfriends, fiances, etc. will not be obligated to remain on the lease in the event of a PCS move. Please advise your leasing consultant of the relationship of all parties when signing the lease if you have any concerns regarding this.

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Tenants: Get Your Deposit Back!

Ensuring the best chance for the return of your security deposit:

One of the most common and frustrating problems both Landlords and Tenants constantly fight with is the move out process.  Property Management Companies act as an intermediary for the owner of the property and the tenants of the property. The managers are hired to protect the investment of the owner, and as the point of contact for the tenants as well, we want to make sure you are returned all of the deposit you are entitled to.

We would like to go over a few strategies to help you, the tenant, make sure that you have the best chance at getting your deposit back. Believe it or not, most managers don’t “want” to claim your deposit just because. A move out in which we can release 100% of the deposit back to a tenant is typically the easiest transition and means we are able to quickly find a new tenant, which is our primary function.

–  Read your lease agreement: I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten into a dispute with a tenant who had never read the lease document they signed. In most cases, the terms of the lease are not overly strict, but they can be very specific. Most lease agreements will include move out procedures, or will reference a move out guide that must be followed. The purpose of these procedures is to set the guidelines for you, which if followed, will normally result in the return of your deposit.

– Put yourself in the shoes of the incoming tenant: Once you have finished packing and the house is nearly ready to return to the management company, think a minute about the new family moving into the house you just finished calling home. Would you be happy moving into it like it is tomorrow? This is the situation we, as managers have to assess each time we conduct our move out inspection.

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What Does a Property Manager Do Anyway? Part 3 of 3

For the conclusion of our 3-part series on what the typical responsibilities of a property manager include, we will be covering the end of lease turn. This process is one of the most hectic periods and is usually the time when most legal issues can occur. Having the move out process handled correctly and efficiently can save you thousands of dollars in both possible legal costs, vacancy expenses, and damage charges.

The Notice Period:

Delivery or Receipt of Move out Notice: Depending on if the tenant is giving notice to vacate at the end of the lease, or if a forceful move out is being delivered to the tenant, a notice to vacate will be required. The manager will either receive the notice from the tenant, or deliver the notice to the tenant in accordance with the lease provisions. Typically, a 30 day move out notice is required which means that under most circumstances there should be plenty of time make arrangements for the move out. During this time, the manager will be preparing the final charges, estimating the possible repairs and lining up tentative schedules for cleaning, repairs, and any major projects the manager may know about from past inspections. The manager should also be reaching out to the owner of the property to notify her of the house becoming available again. This allows the owner time to prepare financially for any vacancy and repairs needed, as well as to determine if the property should be leased again or if some other possible course should be taken (sales, moving back, etc.).

Listing the Property: As was done in the initial listing of the home, the house should be put back on the market. At this time, a new price evaluation will take place to make sure that the house is still competitively priced, and the advertising process will start again, following the procedures outlined in Part 1 of our guide.

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