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.
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This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified rent and security deposits lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local rent and security deposits attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.