Does tenant’s liability for landlord’s furniture diminish with depreciation?

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Does tenant’s liability for landlord’s furniture diminish with depreciation?

I live long term in rent controlled and furnished apartment. Landlord will not take back furniture to make room for tenant’s, but will allow renter to store landlords furniture at tenant’s expense. If tenant were to dispose of furniture, would tenant’s liability be diminished at move-out by the depreciation furniture went through. For example, if tenant moves out after 5 year depreciation of furniture and furniture is not rendered to landlord, does tenant have a liability?

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In California, the law concerning damages for which a security deposit is placed is to pay for actual damages, not normal wear and tear of the property which typically is for paint, carpet, and fixtures.

One of the common attempts by a landlord at the end of a tenant's lease is for him or her to charge the former tenant for brand new carpet when the carpet was several years old when the lease was entered into. In many situations the landlord charges the tenant moving out for brand new carpet and never installs new carpet for the next tenant.

With respect to your question about the furniture coming with the rental and your obligation upon move out to pay for it, you should only pay for any actual damages not occassioned by normal wear and tear. For example, if someone came over and spilled purposefully ink all over a couch, you would be responsible for that damage taking into account the depreciated value of the couch at move out.

Good luck.


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