30 Replies Latest reply: Feb 1, 2018 10:50 AM by bobbie32 RSS

    What is Normal Wear and Tear

    ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

      Interested in knowing what other owners consider to be normal wear and tear, and what would be eligible for charging to renter.

       

      We just spent a week at our rental property conducting our semi-annual review of the condition of various things and making sure that overall we will meet the expectations of our guests.  We had the usual notes from renters, some found the beds too hard, other too soft, some liked the cookware, others asked for particular pieces to be added, etc.  We swapped out a lot of the linens to ensure nothing was stained, showed bleach marks or pilling, counted up the pillows (lost 4) and replaced all of the pillow covers to ensure cleanliness. Checked over the TVs and the DVD library and verified that the screen settings were optimal and that all batteries in TV remotes, lock boxes and fire alarms were new. 

       

      However, we found that the 6 month old Teflon cookware had deep scratches even though we have only wood or silicon coated cooking utensils.  The kitchen countertops had knife marks, even though we have two built in butcher block cutting boards and provide several other large boards.  It appeared that hot pans had been removed from the stove and placed directly on the counters - fortunately the marks were able to be polished out.  Two of the dining room chairs looked like they had been used for a duel - broken support dowels and backs.  Some DVDs were missing from their cases and oddly enough, books in our 'lending library' had broken spines and missing pages.  Had to remove cracked and chipped dinner ware -- fortunately we use Corelle for one set, and have many replacement pieces for the 'antique' Franciscan ware dinner service.  We have even had shelves and drawers in the refrigerator broken.

       

      We have quality furnishings -- Ethan Allen, Stickley, Lane, etc.  All of these are similar to what I have in my home and have withstood our large, frequent family gatherings for years.  At home, I have things that look new even after 40 years of use -- but nothing seems to hold up in the rental.  I can reconcile myself to replacing sheets, cookware and dishes, but I wonder when it comes to chairs and countertops.

       

      At what point do I stop marking it 'normal wear and tear' and start charging the renter?

        • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
          feibus Senior Contributor

          I just had to replace a TV because the LED screen behind the plastic looked like someone took a bat to it... but our managers aren't sure if they checked it after the previous rental, so no way to be sure who is responsible.  That goes into the wear/tear bucket.

           

          We replace our cookware yearly because people use metal spoons in them, that's wear/tear.  We get them during "black Friday" special sales, so it's something like $50 or $100 for an entire set and then some... we usually have leftovers we put away and check it again mid-year.

           

          If someone throws up on a bedspread, that's not wear/tear, we know when that happens, no hiding it, and bill for cleaning or replacement accordingly.

           

          "Accidental" damage policies cover some of it, but not enough to force all my guests to get it.

          • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
            u0999 Premier Contributor

            "However, we found that the 6 month old Teflon cookware had deep scratches even though we have only wood or silicon coated cooking utensils.  The kitchen countertops had knife marks, even though we have two built in butcher block cutting boards and provide several other large boards. "

            I have written about this many times. I have found that no matter if you buy a $300 teflon set of $50, they will be ruined in a matter of weeks just the same regardless of  how many nonscratch utensils you provide. Someone WILL use the fork on them. I have been phasing out anything Teflon and replacing with stainless. I don't care at this point that it is hard to fry on a stainless pan, but if it gets scorched or scratched - with stainless you can just buff it out with scour pad or steel wool.

             

            Same for countertops - you can provide 53 various cutting boards and someone will STILL cut right on the counter. So very hard granite or quartz counters that are extremely hard to scratch even if yo cut on them. No Formica or anything like that.  Stainless kitchen sinks too (I do have one granite composite sink but jury is still out).

             

            since our properties are cabins we have rustic/log furniture, so the more it is "beat up" the more it is part of the look. In the worst case I can sand it out and refinish. The only exception is leather couches but those thankfully held up well. IMO regular store bought furniture is in many cases is not a good idea in a rental.

             

            I'd charge is something is broken.

            • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
              sunnycs CommunityAmbassador

              I found out early into renting that anything "residential" didn't hold up.  I went in wanting to replace all of the hotel case goods (dressers, nightstands, tables, etc), and the sofas and chairs with nicer pieces.  Not a good idea.  Those commercial items are there for a reason.  The case goods have matching formica tops and they are well-built and sturdy.  My designer chairs literally fell to pieces during their first season.  My expensive custom comforter took a beating and looked like it was 10 years old after only a few months.  Nice teflon frying pans suffered abuse from forks and the dishwasher.  Pretty colored sheets ended up in a mismatched mess. 

               

              I learned that for a vacation rental, normal wear and tear is anything but normal!

               

              I kept most of the hotel case goods and updated them with modern drawer pulls.  I replaced the decorater chairs with the heaviest, toughest Made in America wing chairs I could find.  I kept the hotel sofa and chairs in my other condo, but had the cushions restuffed with higher quality foam and wrapping.  I buy decent Costco frying pans and replace them every year.  I have granite counters and stainless sinks in the kitchens.  I use mostly white towels (Costco) and all white sheets now.  I buy coverlets for the beds from Courtyard by Marriott (I sew the bottom corners so they have a nice fitted look - these things look great on the beds and they're tough as nails). 

               

              When I needed a living room full of new window treatments, I bought black-out curtains from a DC Hilton hotel remodel.  I buy very heavy lamps so they're not as likely to be knocked over.  I'm using Crypton fabric on new or recovered furniture (it's attractive, but magically stain, moisture, & odor resistant and wears like iron).  I replaced the old "legs" style bedframes with solid metal for a sturdier and cleaner set up (nothing gets under the beds for my housekeeper to miss).  I'm in the process of replacing all of my carpeting with tile.  I try to buy clearance appliances because none of them last very long and they're rarely worth repairing (not to mention the fact that I don't have time for extensive appliance repairs between rentals).  I bought a cool Brown Jordan Hollywood Regency metal dining set which is very chic and stylish for the beach, but seems indestructible (I discovered later that it's a hot retro look from the 1960's and worth 10-15 times what I paid for it).  Naturally, my husband the CPA said:  "Sell it!"

               

              Nov 2012 dining.jpg

                • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                  u0999 Premier Contributor

                  ah, yes. Appliances. I remember how some members here insisted on having <insert some expensive brand here> .Well I am on my 2nd fridge in each property, 1st one had expensive Bosch, 2nd one had inexpensive Frigidaire. Bosch had many repairs before finally locking up, Frigidaire just quit (irreparable coolant leak).  Both replaced with same model inexpensive (under a $1000) stainless Whirlpool. In one VR I am on 3rd microwave in other one on 2nd. handles get yanked and broken and I do not have time to fix it in place, so just replace. I was able to take the broken microwaves down, buy replacement handle and fix, now I have couple of spares . lesson learned: do not buy microwaves with plastic handles.

                  Nice Maytag dishwasher repaired twice (4 years), Maytag isn't what it used to be.

                  Surprisingly, 7 year old almost-builder grade stainless Kenmore with no frills runs like a champ, if it dies tomorrow - I got my money's worth.

                  No fancy buttons or screens, prefer to avoid any electronic controls, simple simple simple. Anything fancy will either be broken ort you will be 24X7 tech support answering calls "how do I...".

                  I was strongly considering Speed Queen washer for my new VR, but they run on a small side - 3.3 cu ft, afraid that is too small fro what I need. So trying to find simple machine that is also large is all but impassible these days. With all this water-misering they put so many electronics in them that it is never simple anymore.

                  Also a good idea to keep major appliances same brand if you have more than one VR - such as refrigerators - I buy pack of filters and I know they fit. Also bought one warranty per 2 of the same items, had not had to use but thinking they won't know which one as they are identical and from same store bought within 2 weeks form each other.

                • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                  linkybo Contributor

                  I'm happy to hear it isn't just my guests who insist on stirring food in non-stick skillets and pans with a metal fork. I've removed all metal utensils except silverware and they still scratch it. Next step - plastic picnic utensils.

                  • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                    planthealth Active Contributor

                    One of my beach condos is a small budget one. I remodeled it at purchase to be able to rent it and installed a new kitchen-counters, appliances everything. I used a marble looking laminate for the countertop. First month some idiot is using it as a chopping board. I have 3 labels in 3 different sections that now say "no knives on countertops". So far my tackiness has worked. I did the same for my stacked washer drier at another condo-sticker-$350 repair fee for opening when red light is on" or something like that because it locks during the spin. I know I cant prevent, but maybe my tacky coaching can at least delay damage. I suffer the insults from my husband over the numerous guidance labels, but....

                    • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                      hawaiiparadise Contributor

                      Broken (like the chairs in OP):  we would charge

                       

                      We keep a very good set of cookware in our units, and expect our guests to know how to use them properly.  Mostly they do.   We'd charge to replace anything with a damaged non-stick surface if we could tell who did it but usually that's not the case.

                       

                      Counter tops are granite - no issues.  They can get chipped but the repair is simple and fast and costs around $70.  If we thought the damage was intentional (probably considering the guest's overall care of the unit) we might charge for that or let it pass.   Having said that, sounds like your cleaners didn't tell you about the burn marks?  

                       

                      Linens:   we charge if extensive (we had one guest trash over $400).

                       

                      Overall we apply a "hassle factor" threshold around $50.   If we can address everything for that amount or less we don't charge.   So a missing DVD or 2 likely wouldn't make the cut.   Nor would the occasional cracked dish or chipped glass.  We keep inventory of those and our housekeeping is instructed to replace and let us know (mainly so we have an accurate inventory).  Then every quarter we inventory each unit and our stock of spares - that's usually when we find out there is pillow missing as that doesn't seem to get picked up during cleaning (there are several extras in each unit so if one is missing, well, not so obvious).   We thoroughly go over all furnishings and touch up as needed, then review what we found with our cleaning staff if we think anything was missed that we'd like reported.    

                       

                      Might be good to think through which losses you expect your housekeeping to detect and report, and update training accordingly if you aren't getting that.

                      • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                        ohst8er Premier Contributor

                        I'm with the others.  Some people are just ROUGH on stuff.  Whether it's because it isn't their place or they treat their own stuff like that I have no idea. As far as the pots and pans go, I did have to eliminate any metal kitchen utensils in my own house, because it did not occur to my husband you could not use metal on certain pans.  I knew, so it was no issue to me, but it was either buy new pans or different utensils. 

                         

                        As far as furniture goes, I look at my 36 inch 2003 Ethan Allen ottoman in my livingroom and lament the fact that we EVER let our adorable pooch use it as her own personal resting place.  It used to be lovely.  USED to be.     The couch and chair we bought on the same day looks like it will last another 10 years.  The ottoman, notsomuch.  It desperately needs redone, or replaced, but I haven't bothered to do so because I know whatever I replace it with will suffer the same fate.  It makes our living room look much less attractive.  It's frankly becoming an eyesore.  Fortunately I love the little furball, she truly is one of the family, so I just deal with it.  But it disappoints me that I let it get beat up that way. 

                         

                        Now my guests I APPRECIATE but I have no love for them (not like family or dear friends I mean), so I would not be as tolerant of them ruining something that was once a lovely focal point in our family gathering place. 

                         

                        So...when we purchased the furniture for our condo we had the "hotel" mentality in mind, (as Sunny was mentioning above).  We bought all our furniture from a company called Rooms To Go.  I bought the absolute cheapest I could get away with that would still look nice.  The only thing I splurged on was the mattresses.  AND, I got 5 years SAC, so essentially our GUESTS pay for our furniture.   We have 2 years left to pay on the furniture.  If at the 5 year mark I have to replace stuff I won't lose a second's sleep over it, because it didn't cost me anything.  For the items that last longer than 5 years we come out ahead.  The only thing right now that I want to replace, but am holding off on, is our dining room table.  It is showing a lot of visible scratches.  We use the wood marker on it every time we go to our condo, but our next table will be something that wears better. 

                          • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                            georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                            once you invest in that good table have a thick beveled glass cut to match and put it on top.

                            WaLa !!!! 20 years....and the table will still be perfect.

                              • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                sunnycs CommunityAmbassador

                                Good advice on the glass .  I put custom glass tops on all of the furniture pieces in my rentals that aren't topped with formica. 

                                • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                  ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                  We've thought about doing this with the current table.  In fact hubby priced it out.  Here's why I said no:

                                   

                                  #1, heat still transfers thru the glass.  The number one issue we have with this current table is that even a dinner plate with hot food transfers the heat and ruins the top.  We purchased special place mats that do not allow the heat to be transferred, which HELPS, provided they get used.

                                   

                                  #2, we had a glass table on our lanai in Florida years ago.  The glass was very heavy, and just floated on the base.  For whatever reason my husband was lifting it up to clean underneath, the glass slid to the floor and came crashing down in millions of pieces.  Thank goodness he was ok, but it was a collossal mess to clean up.  That concerns me as a potential issue

                                   

                                  #3 crumbs that get trapped between glass and table.  I have no idea HOW that happens, but it does. 

                                   

                                  My husband's one and only reason?  Price.  It just wasn't worth it to spend that much money to protect a table that we didn't spend that much money on.

                                   

                                  I don't have a good answer as to what we do in the future for a table, so I welcome suggestions.  

                                   

                                  Now back to the OP, because I feel like I've had a part in hijacking this thread (sorry), I guess the easy measure of wear and tear is, what do you accept as wear and tear in your own house?  Scuff marks on the wall, as much as I hate that my kids make them, they do, so I've learned to accept that as "normal wear and tear."  A door that is opened so severely, even on accident that it blasts past the doorstop and puts a doorknob sized hole in the wall is NOT normal wear and tear.  Spilling some juice?  Well it's gonna happen.  If the guest makes a valiant effort to clean it out of beige carpet the moment it happens, calls you, tells you they worked hard to clean it and would cover the cost of having a professional come in I might let them slide.  Having a housekeeper call me to say there is a 1 foot wide grape juice stain on the beige carpet that was obviously NOT properly cleaned (if at all) would result in me sending a bill to the guest. 

                                    • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                      twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                      I Have a beautiful Henridon dining table in my VR. I cut a mattress pad just a bit larger than the table, then put a vinyl table cloth And then a very nice cloth table cloth over that and then place mats. So, far that has protected the table top from wear and tear.

                                       

                                      edited

                                        • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                          ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                          I'm cracking up at this because you sound like my mother in law.  Every time we came over for dinner she had her dining table covered with a table cloth.  When we finished dinner she would remove the table cloth and underneath was a VERY old, yellowing, vinyl table cover with padding underneath.  She'd wipe it down and that was the table covering until the next dinner.  She did this for the 20 years that I knew her.  When she passed we uncovered the table and there was this "brand new" 50 year old dining table.  Part of me marveled how beautiful and perfect it was.  Part of me realized that her and her new husband painstakingly picked out this beautiful piece as a focal point to their dining room, then promptly covered it with an ugly cover to protect it.  They never actually got to enjoy the piece. 

                                            • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                              twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                              LOL! I get to enjoy it when I want without it being damaged by guests.  When it was in my dining room it wasn’t covered All the time. We down sized our own home and it got moved to the VR.

                                               

                                              I Am surprised to hear that your MIL kept it covered all the time....she must have used her dining room all the time instead of her kitchen table and chairs.

                                               

                                              I Have to say though that I have friends who cover their kitchen tables with clear plastic for every day use.

                                               

                                              I was just trying to give some ideas to help with wear and tear at your VR.

                                            • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                              feibus Senior Contributor

                                              That seems like a lot of work for a table in VR.

                                                • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                  twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                  Not really, the cleaning lady throws the table cloth in with the towels and sheets and it is done.

                                                   

                                                  Just a suggestion to help with the longevity in the VR. Some cover really ugly tables with table cloths......no difference really.

                                                   

                                                  I do remember the old days when some tables came with table pads. LOL (yes, I am dating myself)

                                              • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                feibus Senior Contributor

                                                We're on the "it's going to last 5 years come hell or high water" plan.  So far, one of them is on year six and we had to replace one of the bench seats, which was a problem, because they're impossible to match after 5 years... so we ended up getting near-matching barstools for the side of the table that opens on the living room and that worked out well.  But I'll be surprised if we aren't replacing it within the next year.

                                                  • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                    ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                                    Yea, that's my philosophy/plan, too!    We bought and furnished our condo sight unseen, with furniture we selected online.  Not a great way to do it, I don't recommend it, but I CAN tell you how to do it now! 

                                                     

                                                    What I would do differently in regard to the dining table would be to find something that wore better, and also chairs that scooted in easier and had a smaller seat.  Our 6 chairs barely fit under our table, something I would've realized had I been able to do all of this in person.  But we worked with what we had to work with. 

                                            • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                              twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                              Other than true wear and tear the worst thing in my VR is that the hardwood floors have scratches, probably from young children, and dogs, but who knows. Pots are stainless steel, copper bottom, except for frying pans, check out your local thrift store for replacements. I have found many things that are donated have use still left in them.

                                              • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                                                That's a tough call.  To me it is a combination of intent and dollar figure damage.  Spills, dropped dishes, scratches on the floor from shoes or dogs (assuming you allow them), even broken furniture (if it is old or fragile) is normal "wear and tear".

                                                 

                                                One guest sat on a chair and it collapsed under him.  He weighed about 150 pounds, and the chair was old (inherited from the prior owner).  I'm just happy he was not hurt, and certainly did not charge him anything for that.

                                                 

                                                Another guest sat at my WOOD dining table and spun the top of their beer bottle - sharp side down - at several places and wore through the finish and into the raw wood!  That's not normal wear and tear to me - it was not a conscious decision to damage something, but it's not a typical activity.  They readily agreed to pay for the damage, but I ended up not charging them, as the only way to get it repaired here in St Lucia was for me to do it myself and I only needed a can of wood finish ($50).  It gave me a chance to add more coats to finish to the table anyway.

                                                • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                  georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                                                  Most of our furnishings in both houses are very high quality .... purchased 2nd hand and durable.

                                                  Most had flaws to begin with from prior use. 

                                                  It was all selected for both style, and sturdiness. The decor is very eclectic.

                                                  All table tops and furniture tops are protected by either glass or granite. ( Glass if it was in good condition / Granite if it was in bad condition )

                                                  Sofas are either top grain leather, or washable slipcovers.

                                                  Living area chairs are slipcovered too....swivel barrel chairs.

                                                  The wear and tear on the furnishings in our large properties, after 8 years of continual use year round, is virtually non-existent inside.

                                                  I touch up molding paint, and door knicks from time to time.

                                                  We had to replace the boards on our front steps because the luggage wore down spots.

                                                  I think this year I do need new outside rocking chairs.  I have replaced outside cushions too.

                                                  We have replaced dining room chairs, as the more fragile antiques were not sturdy and gave way from heavy people.

                                                  We have done some ( minor ) repairs along the way, and / or paint retouching.......but I can not think of anything else, most repairs are normal maintenance.

                                                  • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                    Just want to add that we now travel with cooking implements. We have always traveled (by car) with a sharp knife. Just rented a place and the knives we so dull - very dull.  And there was no chef's knife for chopping.  So next time when traveling by car we will bring EVERYTHING we need - knives and various cooking tools.  I just want to add that even though you do not supply a tool, the traveler may bring their own, including a decent frying pan.   They may even bring their own metal turner.  Beware...

                                                     

                                                    We also bring our own placemats and cloth napkins - placemats that are offered are usually gross!

                                                      • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                        u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                        Gross? Mine are plastic (or vinyl or whatever) and I run them through dishwasher. I do thing that about 99% of renters in my market do not bring their own frying pans.

                                                          • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                            bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                            Well...we have brought a frying pan too!  As well as a salad spinner, cutting board, and wine and champagne glasses.  The place we just rented did not have wine glasses and they are in a wine country area - go figure???  Wish we had brought a frying pan this time - the pans were in a pretty bad condition.  The place was newly and nicely renovated, but not the stuff in the drawers.

                                                          • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                            twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                            My placemats are washable and come out looking new and unwrinkled every time. Never gross! LOL

                                                            • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                              feibus Senior Contributor

                                                              Vinyl ones here... with Star Wars or Toy Story theme.  Will last forever, not biodegradable, I expect it'll outlive me....

                                                              • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                                georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                                                                I guess you have made a point as to why I would never rent a VR / STR.

                                                                I provide all that....but oh well....hard to sort all that out in reviews.

                                                                i would never stay at a VR ( happily ) where I had to bring in my own stuff.

                                                                I would be a miserable guest.

                                                                  • Re: What is Normal Wear and Tear
                                                                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                                    We rent vacation homes all the time - probably 3 or 4 a year. So you might say we have seen it all. I usually go by the photos and do not use reviews unless there are only 1 and 2 star reviews.  I also refuse to write reviews.  So photos is my way of choosing, but photos don't show what is inside the drawers. Frankly I do not believe we have ever stayed in what I would categorize as a 5-star rental.  But because of being in the architecture profession, you can imagine our desire for something above the norm.  Don't get me wrong we have only had a bad stay once in the 30+ years we have been renting.  And we bought the one that came close to a 5-star rental. We hope we have turned it into a 5-star rental, but even I would say probably not, even though all we get is 5-star reviews.

                                                                     

                                                                    We really like renting particularly since we travel with our dog.  We usually rent homes in the $200-$300/night category.  They are large for just two people and a dog. Comfort is key and that means some area rugs or carpet.  We also like a king bed but will settle for a queen bed.  A shower is a must.  Currently we are looking for places without stairs due to our aging dog.  The search continues!