What proof of excessive wear and tear do landlords need before they can take away from your security deposit?

My landlord charged me for damage that I feel was normal wear and tear and the cost of doing business (cleaning, spot painting, etc.). I know they have to give me an itemized list of charges and back-up documentation for these charges. Does the documentation have to actually prove the damage was beyond normal wear and tear (ie photos) or just show that that’s what the landlord paid? I believe that the landlord honestly paid the amount I was charged but I doubt it was for anything not covered under normal wear and tear.

Asked on July 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Custom and practice in the rental industry is that certain items are depreciated over a period of seven (7) years such as interior paint and carpet as examples. The landlord has the burden of claiming excessive wear and tear beyond what is normal and provide the former tenant with examples of such.

You have the right to contest the charge. In order to answer your question in a concrete manner you need to provide some specific examples of the condition of what the landlord charged you for, the charge, and when the landlord last replaced or upgraded the item that are claimed to be beyond normal wear and tear.


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