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Is it legal for leasing company to charge tenant for 'Wear & Tear' Paint after vacating apartment ?

Bellevue, WA |

We leased this apartment for about 30 months. After vacating, we got final settlement bill including $360 for painting apartment. This charge is not part of lease agreement signed while move in. During discussion with finance department, he said this is for wear & tear and no specific damages in apartment unit. Is is legal in WA state to ask tenant pay for repainting with only 'wear & Tear' damages? thanks.

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Attorney answers 4


Check The landlord cannot charge for regular wear and tear. If something is in the lease that specifically prohibits an act then they must collect on that violation, but not regular wear and tear.


I agree with the previous answer and normal wear and tear is not damage. See the link to RCW 59.18.280 below for the remedies.
Good Luck

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They may be counting on you acting like many people and deciding it is not worth the hassle to contest the charge. You do not have to live down to their expectations of you.


Check out IRS Publication 527 (it is online at Paint is a three year asset. Carpet is a five year asset. A new building being depreciated actually amortizes down to scrap value in 27.5 years. Tenants are paying for the USE of the premises, not for the privilege of being curator of the landlord's temple to his own OCD. Renting and deposits are NOT a remodeling program. Rent is for the ordinary wear and tear that goes with USE. Damage deposits are for damage or wear in excess of what would be ordinary. IMHO, when a landlord has taken depreciation deductions he is not in a position to double dip the tenant for the same wear and tear.

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