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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Tenants: Why You Should Never Call Your Property Manager!

Well…almost never.

The first impulse of many people when dealing with problems or issues that come up is to pick up the phone and call the person or company to seek resolution. In Property Management, the phone may not always be the best or most efficient method of handling your issue.

Throughout the day, a Property Management company is constantly fielding calls and e-mails, meeting with clients in the office, and may be out of the office on appointments. Even the best Property Manager, Receptionist, or Maintenance Coordinator is still human, and is prone to being overwhelmed, distracted, or just making a mistake. Most of the disputes that occur during move out, missed maintenance items, or problems that occur during tenancy can be attributed to miscommunication or failed to act upon calls that get over-looked or forgotten about once the call has ended.

Take for example a call made to an office to report a minor maintenance issue. You report the issue and the agent who answers takes the message and lets you know that someone will be out as soon as possible. What you did not realize when you were on the phone was that the agent had 2 people in her lobby, a call on hold, and a stack of files that were in the middle of being processed. After handling the other call, the guests in the lobby, and sorting out the files, somehow the message about your maintenance item was lost. Now you are frustrated because the technician never shows, and when you call back, you don’t remember who you spoke with.

A better, and usually more responsive alternative is to make sure that you submit requests and information in writing to your manager or agent. Whether the issue is maintenance, move out notices, lease changes or alterations, someone can receive the message when they have the ability to concentrate on your issue specifically. Also, in the event that a major issue has come up, you have written proof that you notified the manager, and hopefully have written confirmation of receipt by the manager as well.

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