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 mkc1959 Your Own Question

mkc1959
mkc1959, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 519
Experience:  Practicing attorney with 26 years of experience.
55483656
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
mkc1959 is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What constitutes normal wear and tear on a wood floor that

Resolved Question:

What constitutes "normal wear and tear" on a wood floor that was relatively new when we moved in a little less than 3 years ago and now has some pretty significant scuffing around certain areas where furniture got moved?

Also, if the floors needed to be completely refinished to get them into the shape the landlord wants them in, what percentage should we, the tenants, have to pay (since we do not feel that after living in the house for 2.5 years we should shoulder 100% of the cost of a complete floor refinishing because at least some portion of the damage would constitute normal wear and tear)?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  mkc1959 replied 3 years ago.

mkc1959 :

California Civil Code Section 1950.5(b) prohibits a landlord from making security deposit deductions for cleaning or making repairs "caused by normal wear and tear." There is no statutory definition of wear and tear. but the courts define it as “normal usage”. Wear and tear is often used to describe worn carpets and flooring, and painting on walls. For example, some cases have stated that two or three years is the normal lifespan for a coat of paint, and tenants may only be charged accordingly. Thus, if a tenant has lived in the residence for longer than two or three years they may not be charged for painting.

Customer:

I found the information on paint and am curious if the same would be true for floors. Where can I find the "normal lifespan for floors" and is it reasonable for them to charge me to totally redo the floors or is a certain percentage their responsibility?

mkc1959 :

This is an example of how to determine your level of responsibility. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how long the finish on your particular wood floor should have lasted. It seems you could consult with several flooring stores in your area to get an idea of how long the finish is supposed to last. Also, you might get a couple of bids on what it would cost to repair/refinish the flooring.

mkc1959 :

The general rule would be a percentage. Say a wood floor in ideal conditions would last 10 years. You have lived there for 3 so the landlord has received 30% of the benefit of the finish. Then if the floor has to be totally refinished, generally, the split would be 30% the landlord and 70% you.

mkc1959 :

However, you don't describe damage to the entire floor. So if only 20% of the floor is damaged -- not as the result of "normal wear and tear" -- then you would only be looking at paying 70% of the cost to repair the 20% of the floor. If the landlord decided he was going to have the entire floor refinished, you would still only pay 70% of 20% of the total cost.

Customer:

And who gets to decide how good shape the floor needs to be brought back to (I am not sure it is so far beyond normal wear and tear, but would like to give them something to get them nice floors again)...

mkc1959 :

As I re-read your question, you state the floor was "relatively new" before you moved in. You would want to find out when the floor had been installed or refinished because that would be the beginning date for setting the landlord's percentage.

mkc1959 :

Well the floors would only need to be brought back to the condition they were in when you moved in -- minus normal wear and tear. If you and the landlord cannot agree, then maybe you could agree on the opinion of someone who installs flooring. The problem is that "normal wear and tear" is just a nice sounding phrase with no definite meaning.

mkc1959 :

Unfortunately if you cannot come to an agreement somehow with the landlord, then the dispute would be decided by a court-- which is not an option anyone should want.

Customer:

The landlord is going to argue that to make the floors look uniform throughout, the entire floor needs to be re-done, even though only a few areas were scuffed. I want to be fair and give them some money for it, but do not want to pay $5000 to redo their floors, even if we did more than normal wear and tear damage to a few small areas... Can you provide any more color on how these types of issues usually play out in CA?

Customer:

We have brought in several flooring experts and they are all over the place - I have gotten quotes as low as $2k and as high as $6k... I am going to say that the floors should last about 10-12 years and they are about 4 years old.

mkc1959 :

Then the landlord starts out at needing to be responsible for the first 33 1/3 % of the costs of repairs.

mkc1959 :

Second "normal wear and tear" should cover normal walking on the floors and such. If pets were allowed, then "normal wear and tear" should cover any normal markings from the pets. Furniture is normally used in homes so the normal markings of the furniture should be covered. If deeper scratches or gouges were made, then those would likely not be normal wear and tear.

mkc1959 :

I would be surprised to learn that a flooring expert could not match the finish in repairs.

Customer:

they say they need to sand down the whole floor and refinish the whole floor for it to look uniform... we are just in a headlock about which flooring quote to accept and what percent we should pay. I just needed some color on where ca law would come out regarding how much damage is normal wear and tear and how the costs of repairs are divided bw LL and T...

mkc1959 :

Again, using $6000, the landlord should pay the first $2000. Then a calculation would be made for how to split the remaining $4000. If the NOT normal wear and tear was to 50% of the floor, then you would pay approximately $2000.

Customer:

Gotcha. Thanks very much for your help...

mkc1959, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 519
Experience: Practicing attorney with 26 years of experience.
mkc1959 and 16 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4813
    16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4813
    16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6227
    20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4966
    13 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 24+ years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    4446
    I've more than 27 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/rayanswers/2012-6-7_23346_Untitled1.64x64.jpg Ray's Avatar

    Ray

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4030
    Texas Attorney for 29 years dealing in real estate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2377
    12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2355
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.