How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask CalAttorney2 Your Own Question
CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
71563194
Type Your Landlord-Tenant Question Here...
CalAttorney2 is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

State of New Jersey Do any wear and tear considerations

Customer Question

State of New Jersey
Do any wear and tear considerations change after 5 years of occupancy? Are certain things out of the tenant's hands after this length of stay? For example: paint, vinyl flooring and wood flooring. I'm planning on moving soon and want to know what I need to and don't need to take care of.
In my case, there's paint chipping, cracks and stains. The chipping and cracks are mostly located in areas of the bathroom and come from the exposure to moisture I believe. The stains in the rest of the apartment come from physical scuffs and the fact that its just primer, so its easily marked. There are also small holes from thumb tacks and screws. My landlord keeps hinting that its my responsibility to paint no matter what even though most people paint between tenants anyway.
The vinyl on the floor is starting to peel from the edges. This is a common occurrence especially in the bathroom from what I've read.
The hard wood floor is the type that comes in square pieces and there is a chip in one of the pieces. Am I responsible for the one square that is damaged or the entire flooring?
I understand it is the tenant's responsibility to repair or replace what is damaged, but I don't want to pay for a complete renovation.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 11 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Unfortunately, New Jersey does not have a helpful breakdown on the useful life of different surfaces (such as CA for ex. http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/sec-deposit.shtml), but I do find that the CA guide is useful in other states as well as it provides a common sense guideline as to how long you can expect most surfaces to last.

The handbook section I provided above also gives good common sense examples as to what would not be covered (for example, a carpet that has a useful life of 5 years remaining, but has cigarette burns in it, would be replaced entirely by the tenant - this is not "normal wear and tear").

You are also not responsible for upgrading your landlord's property.

If there is a dispute with the landlord over final resolution (either withholdings from your deposit, or a bill from your landlord), you can first try mediation (most communities have landlord/tenant mediators - you can contact your local bar association for referrals), and if that fails, you can sue your landlord in small claims court for breach of contract and violation of the NJ security deposit statute.

(The NJ rental handbook, while less helpful on this topic, can be found here: http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/publications/pdf_lti/t_i_r.pdf)

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
there's no clear yes or no for any of my examples? I don't want to pursue a case if I'm at fault.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 11 months ago.

Usually vinyl peeling up is due to age (the glue backing gets old), but it can also be due to water sitting on the floor (toilet back up, tub spill, etc. that is not cleaned up promptly). It really depends on what the condition is, but the difference is usually pretty easy to spot (look for damage to the surrounding molding).

If you can get a matching piece for the square of the wood flooring then you are responsible for replacing that. If you cannot replace that, then you are responsible for the entire floor.

The walls are really a matter of scope. I don't know what your walls look like, but read the CA Attorney General handbook excerpt I provided, it gives a really good set of examples that help.

The general idea is that gross damage to the unit is something the tenant must take responsibility for, while minor nicks, dings, etc. happen simply because the unit is lived in and therefore the landlord must accept.