Are tenants responsible for tears to wallpaper that is already pealing and old?

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Are tenants responsible for tears to wallpaper that is already pealing and old?

The wallpaper in the townhome is torn in to different spots in foyer. The tears are about the size of a quarter. According to the landlord the wallpaper was put up 15 years ago. The wallpaper is lifting at the seams, bubbling up at some spots and in come areas it has came away from the wall. The landlord stated she has had to put glue on the wallpaper in the past because it was coming up. The landlord wants to pay to have the wallpaper taken down and wall painted white. She has stated that she will take this out of my deposit. I singed a standard lease.

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are not responsible for ordinary wear and tear--even if the wear and tear over many years culminates in the wallpaper coming loose during your tenancy. You are only responsible for damage beyond normal wear and tear which you, your family, pets, or guests did. So if children drew on wallpaper, a contractor you hired ripped it while installing a home theatre system, or a pet tore or scratched it, you could be responsible; you are not responsible, and do not have to pay, simply because age has caught up with it. If the landlord improperly takes the cost out of your security deposit, you can sue him to recover your money.


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