Can I keep painting fees from a security deposit for a tenant leaving the house smelling of marijuana smoke after they left?

Asked on December 14, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast answer, because in this case, the line between normal repainting and repainting due to a tenant's actions is very subjective. That said, to give some guidance:
1) Unit hasn't been repainted in several years and is either due, or would shortly be due (in another 1 - 2 years, say) for repainting: then that would fall under normal wear and tear. The smell of marijuana smoke may have sharpened the need to repaint, but if you'd be repainting soon anyway, or haven't repainting for years, a judge would typically not let you keep the painting cost.
2) Unit recently repainting and the next repainting would be years off but for the smell: in that case, the tenant's actions have caused you to incur an extra expense and you could charge them for it.

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