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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 46
Experience:  Landlord-Tenant Law Expert
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What is considered normal wear and tear if the tenant is

Customer Question

What is considered normal wear and tear if the tenant is breaking the lease and only occupied the unit for 9 months? The tenant has a lot of items on the wall which will require hole patch up and paint touch up? the agreement does specify that they needed my permission to put stuff on the wall which they did not request. Am I able to deduct that from the security deposit? Since they are breaking the lease, am i able to charge them for the rent while the unit is vacant? I have a tenant looking to move in but it would require for the current tenant to move out a couple of days earlier to get the unit ready for the next tenant, am i able to still charge current tenant for the days i'm asking them to move out sooner to get the unit ready for the new tenant?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: arizona
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: that they need to return the property in the condition identical to how they received it. I have a walk through checklist as well as pictures. Do i give them the chance to repair the holes and touch up the paint? There's a lot of areas of chipped paint on walls and on the kitchen cabinets.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I also charged a 200 non refundable cleaning fee in addition to them leaving the unit as clean as they got it.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Legal Expert Justin replied 1 month ago.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I'll be the Expert assisting you today. Charging the $200 nonrefundable cleaning fee should be fine so long as it is in the lease terms.

Regarding whether or not holes in the wall are wear and tear is a more difficult question. It would basically be up to a judge or jury to decide on the definition, which means you can certainly charge them for it and then see how they react. If they refuse to pay the difference (assuming it is more than the security deposit) you can take them to court. Or, they could take you to court, claiming breach of contract since you are trying to charge them for what they would presumably claim is normal wear and tear.

However, the fact that the terms of the lease require them to ask permission before hanging items on the wall will lean heavily in your favor. It sounds like they are in clear violation of the terms, so regardless of whether or not the holes are normal wear and tear, you can claim your damages for their breach of the lease terms.

Yes, you can certainly give them the opportunity to fix the holes themselves. If they do so, then it will no longer be an issue.

You can charge them rent while the unit is vacant, unless there is some sort of buyout provision for breaking the lease (and assuming the tenants paid it). However, if you want them to move out a few days earlier, that could be a problem as they certainly have no obligation to do so. If you want them to move out so you can get new tenants in there, it would be best to come up with a separate agreement that modifies the terms of the lease.