Good to Know!

As licensed Property Managers assisted by a knowledgeable staff, we are here to ensure we are always operating within the boundaries of tenant landlord laws.

What is Normal Wear & Tear

When considering how to define normal wear and tear, one thing to keep in mind is your state or city’s local legislation. Oregon law defines normal wear and tear as any deterioration resulting from normal use. This doesn’t include any damage that might have occurred due to an accident, carelessness, negligence, or abuse. 

Generally, normal wear and tear involves any of the following: 

  • Slight damage to the walls, including nail holes, chips, scratches, smudges, or dents. It can also encompass faded paint or slightly damaged wallpaper.
  • Carpet thinning or fading, or scuffed floors from normal walking. 
  • Doors that stick or don’t close as well as they used to. 
  • Warped cabinet doors.
  • Worn or scratched enamel in the bathroom. 
  • Normal appliance wear. 

This isn’t an all-encompassing list of normal wear and tear, but it’s a good start as to what it entails. If your unit feels “well-loved” with dings and scratches but no severe damage by the time your tenants move out, it’s considered normal wear and tear. 

Property Damage

While wear and tear can be difficult to classify, you’ll usually recognize outright damage when you see it. Damage involves in-your-face problems, usually as a result of careless action or negligence. This may include:

  • Water stains or other water damage caused by tenant action. 
  • Holes, stains, or burns on the carpet, or scratched/gouged wood floors.
  • Paint colors or wallpaper that you didn’t approve. 
  • Wide holes in the wall or an excessive number of nail holes. 
  • Doors or windows and window coverings  broken due to abuse. 
  • Cracked or damaged mirrors or tiles in the bathroom. 
  • Appliances damaged from misuse or neglect rather than everyday use. 

Damage is usually caused by your tenant using your property in a way not permitted in the lease. Whether or not it was caused by the tenant themselves or a guest, child, or pet, damage caused while they were renting your unit means that you may be able to deduct it from your tenant’s security deposit.

Know Your Way Around Oregon Property Law

The Most Important Things to Remember:


As an Oregon landlord, you can legally deduct the following from your tenant’s security deposit, when relevant: unpaid rent, damage caused by a breach of lease, repairs other than those to correct normal wear and tear, and any other factors you may have included in your lease.

You may not retain your last month’s rent as part of the security deposit. It can only be used to cover any outstanding rent your tenant still owes you when they move out. 


Oregon law gives landlords 31 days to return a security deposit. If a government agency terminates your rental agreement due to unsafe living conditions, you must return the deposit in 14 days. 

When you return part of your tenant’s security deposit, you must also provide an itemized statement of deductions. 


While many aspects of carpet deterioration are considered normal wear and tear, you’re allowed to charge a carpet cleaning fee if cleaning the carpet of dirt or other stains requires more than a standard vacuum cleaner. However, you need to have specified cleaning fees in the rental agreement or the cleaning required to return your rental to its initial condition aside from normal wear and tear.


Also keep in mind that routine maintenance between tenants will include many standard cleaning and repair tasks that you’ll need to undertake between tenants, no matter how careful they were with your property. You should always expect to spackle and re-paint the walls and ensure the home is clean and ready for a new tenant. You cannot deduct the cost of routine maintenance from your tenant’s security deposit. 

Evictions, Lease Breaks & Security Deposits

The thought of an eviction is scary, we know! Do not worry though, we are here for you. SauCo Properties coordinates evictions on behalf of our landlord clients, and will work diligently with the courts to gain possession of the property as soon as we can.


Per our lease agreements, the lease break fee is equal to 1.5 times the monthly rent. This lease break fee is transferred to the homeowner. The tenant lease term is initially 12 months, unless otherwise requested. 

SauCo Properties holds the security deposit in a non-interest bearing client trust account. 


Once the tenant vacates, the deposit is conditionally refundable less any cleaning and damages beyond normal wear and tear. If the tenants leave the property owing more than what the deposit covers, they will be billed. If they do not pay, the balance owed will be turned over to a collections agency.

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