What Does "wear And Tear" Mean?

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 not a 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.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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