San Antonio Property Management Blog

What’s Normal Wear and Tear, and What Is Damage?

What’s Normal Wear and Tear, and What Is Damage?

Here’s the difference between wear and tear and tenant-caused damage.

What passes as normal wear and tear in a property, and what constitutes damage? As you can imagine, that is one of the most common topics we discuss with tenants. This is crucial because if a tenant does damage, they’re responsible for the harm done. However, they’re not responsible for natural wear and tear, since anyone could have contributed to that.

Here’s a helpful chart to show what is normal wear and tear and what is tenant-caused damage:

Type of Material

Average Useful Life

Normal Wear and Tear (Landlord’s responsibility)

Tenant Damage (Tenant’s responsibility)


5 years

Gently worn carpets that show worn patches but no holes or stains

Pet-caused damage such as heavily stained carpets or rips

Hardwood flooring

25 years

Fading of flooring due to sunlight exposure

Deep scratches or pieces of floor missing

Tile flooring

25 years

Dirty grout surrounding tiles

Broken, chipped, or missing tiles


20 years

Lightly scratched glass or worn/loose hardware

Broken glass, ripped screens, broken hardware


20+ years

Scratches and light watermarks

Chips, burned areas, or multiple stains



Cracks caused by settling

Holes, damage from hanging pictures/art


3 years

Fading due to sunlight and minor scuffing

Scribbles and unauthorized paint colors

If you have more questions about this or any other topic regarding property management, please give me a call or send an email. I would love to help you.

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