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LADYLAWYER
LADYLAWYER, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6531
Experience:  Civil; Family; HOA; Landlord/Tenant; Real Estate; Probate; Insurance; Immigration; Wills & Trusts
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What is the definition of "ordinary wear and tear" in cases

Customer Question

What is the definition of "ordinary wear and tear" in cases where the tenant became a resident while in a power wheelchair and occupies an ACCESSIBLE unit designed for a handicapped individual? Does the ADA address this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 1 year ago.

LADYLAWYER : Hello, Thanks for choosing Justanswer.com! I look forward to helping you with legal information today.
LADYLAWYER : The ADA does not address normal or ordinary wear and tear with regard to residential tenancies. Normal wear and tear is that which occurs to carpeting, walls and fixtures as a result of normal use, as opposed to accidental damage or destruction. Carpets need to be replaced every 10 years or so in apartments. Walls need to be repainted generally after a year or two. If your landlord is trying to argue that your wheelchair caused damage beyond the normal wear and tear a non-disabled person would cause and wants to charge you, then you may be able to countersue for discrimination.
LADYLAWYER : At the very least, a traffic pattern for your chair or nicks, dings and scrapes in the paint due to the chair is all considered normal wear and tear and a landlord may not keep your security deposit for that.
LADYLAWYER : I see you have just joined the chat. I am happy to answer any further questions if you have them!
Customer:

it is not a matter oity of security deposit. The management is threatening me with eviction.

LADYLAWYER : Okay, however, you did not include that in your original facts so I did not know that. They have to sue to evict you. At that time, you can countersue for discrimination.
LADYLAWYER : I would also consider contacting your local media outlets to see if they want to run a public interest story on this.
LADYLAWYER : That may get your landlord to totally back off before a lawsuit is even filed.
LADYLAWYER : However, to answer your question, what constitutes normal wear and tear is factual and is considered on a case by case basis. While the ADA does not discuss normal wear and tear for disabled tenants, the law forbids discrimination against the handicapped in the sale or rental of housing, including making the housing unavailable or refusing to rent, or to discriminate in the terms, conditions or privileges or in the provision of services or facilities. 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f).
LADYLAWYER : The landlord must make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services, when the accommodations may be necessary to afford the disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling. Having an equal opportunity to enjoy the dwelling, means being able to use your wheelchair in it without fear of eviction for the normal wear and tear that is caused by it.
Customer:

thanks for that strategic advice. I hadn't considered the media, but that and other tactics might work. They are VERY concerned about public issues and certainly don't want this negativity. Can we follow up on this tomorrow, or as I begin to put your strategy into action? There's nothing I can do tonight.

LADYLAWYER : Oh of course! I always invite my customers who leave me a positive rating to come back at any time and ask me further questions at no further charge.
LADYLAWYER : I just ask that you go ahead and leave a rating so I can leave the question open and not have it time out.
LADYLAWYER : When you want to find it again, sign back onto the site, go to the "my questions" link, click on this question and then just leave me your follow up questions.
LADYLAWYER, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6531
Experience: Civil; Family; HOA; Landlord/Tenant; Real Estate; Probate; Insurance; Immigration; Wills & Trusts
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