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Chicago Property Management Blog

Normal Wear & Tear VS Tenant Damage

Normal Wear & Tear VS Tenant Damage

At GC Realty & Development, LLC (GCR&D) our goal is to always return your security deposit or refrain from filing any claims against your surety bond. We have taken the time to provide our expectations of the home upon move out, and give you some quick tips on common security deposit chargebacks we see that you can help prevent. 

How We Document the Move Out: 

Upon move out, a GCR&D Technician will visit the property and go room by room documenting normal and excessive wear and tear. We will take this information and compare it to any move in reports we have or were completed by the resident. From this report, the property manager will determine if any damages beyond wear and tear exist that were not there at the time of your original move in. 

Normal Wear and Tear: 

Damage in Illinois, “Normal Wear and Tear” refers to deterioration of the property that happens when the property is used as it was meant to be used but only when that deterioration occurs without negligence, carelessness, accidents, misuse, or abuse by the tenant or guests of the tenant. 

Excessive Wear and Tear/ Damage: 

This refers to the destruction that occurs because of abuse or negligence by the tenant during the tenancy. It diminishes the usefulness, value, or normal function of the rental unit. Some examples are pet damage (heavily stained or ripped carpet), broken tiles, holes in the wall, broken windows and missing fixtures. 

Common Security Deposit Chargebacks: 

The list below includes items that are commonly charged back to residents upon their move out but may be easily avoided / corrected. 

  • Lightbulbs 

  • Personal items left behind by tenant 

  • Garbage cans not emptied 

  • Missing garage door openers

  • Missing Mailbox keys 

  • Overgrown lawn 

  • Final water bill not paid 

  • Deep cleaning 

Normal Wear & Tear Vs Beyond or Damage

Material or Surface

Normal Wear and Tear



Minor nail holes from thumbtacks or hanging posters

Small chips, spots, dents(door knob eg.), or cracks due to settling

Large holes from careless drilling, weighty wall hangings, or large nails

Multiple nail holes needing repair


Fading paint due to sunlight

Minor scrape from daily use

Chipped or cracked paint

Unapproved or unprofessional paint job

Water damage on wall from hanging plants or constant rubbing of furniture

Spot painting and patching or touch up of any kind

Counter tops

Light scratches and stains

Minor water marks

Chipped countertops

Burnt patches

Multiple stains

Knife cuts


Faded, loose slightly torn

Ripped, marked-up with crayon, marker, or pen,

Unapproved wallpaper

Windows(including frames and screens)

Lightly scratched panes

Worn and loose parts and accessories


Warped windows

Broken or cracked panes or frames caused by tenant or invitee

Ripped or bent screens

Broken window parts and accessories

Missing screens

Window/Lamp Shades



Torn or stained shades


Missing lamp and window shades

Tile Flooring

Dirt and grout around tiles

Light scratches

Broken or chipped tiles

Missing tiles


Furniture indentation

Gently worn with limited

Thinning from foot traffic

Seams unglued or unravel

Moderate dirt

Heavy stains

Pet damage (urine)

Ripped carpet

Burns in carpet

Hardwood Flooring

Fading of flooring due to sunlight exposure

Scuffed varnish

Dark patches due to lost finish

Deep scratches

Missing pieces

Chipped flooring

Water stains or water damage


Stick due to moisture

Sun faded and heat blistered doors

Ripped hinges


Excessively scratched

Missing handles or locks

Normal Wear & Tear Vs Beyond or Damage


Warped doors(won’t close)

Light scratches

Broken or missing doors

Missing hardware or accessories

Interior and exterior sticky


Mold due to limited ventilation

Mold due to poor cleaning habits (lack of regular cleaning)

Bathroom Tiles

Dirt around tiles

Loose grouting




Worn or scratched enamel

Chipped and broken enamel

Shower Rod


Worn varnish on plumbing fixture

Missing or bent shower rod or plumbing fixtures


Partially clogged sinks

Clogged drains due to aging pipes

Clogged sinks or drains caused by blockage like hair, food, etc.), or improper use


Moderately dirty blinds or curtains

Missing or broken blinds or curtains

Bathroom Mirror

Black spots(“de-silver”)

Missing, cracked or broken

Caked makeup


Worn gaskets

Light dust

Broken refrigerator shelf

Dented front panels

Missing handle, rack or tray

Garbage Disposal


Damaged due to metal, glass, or stones on inside


Wobbly toilet

Worn toilet seat

Cracked tank

Missing tank lever



Light Dust

Torn or missing curtains and drapes

Sliding Door

Door off track

Door stick

Damaged or missing sliding door


Worn out keys

Broken, lost, or unreturned keys

At the end of the day our desire is to take back the property the way we gave it to you with just normal wear and tear.  Wear & tear does translate to the amount of years you have lived in the home too. Normal wear and tear will have a larger range of acceptable conditions the more years you stay with us and we work with the property owners to be reasonable about that standard.