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

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2012

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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