As a landlord, it is likely that at some point, you will end up having a dispute with a tenant who is moving out.
If you spot damages when your tenant is ready to hand the apartment back, you might feel the tenant should pay to repair them. They may try to pass the damages off as normal wear and tear or say they were already there when they moved in.
A court dispute is not ideal for either of you, so here are some things you can do to reduce the chance that your disagreement reaches that stage:
Photographic records are much harder to dispute than verbal evidence. If you have a dated photo showing that the floor was in perfect condition on the day your tenant moved in, it is harder for them to claim the cigarette burns and scratches were already there.
No tenant will ever be perfect. If yours has generally been easy to deal with, consider if you really want to sour your relationship at the last minute over something minor. Understanding what is reasonable wear and tear is crucial because that’s expected. No client can hand back your apartment in the exact same state as you gave it to them.
Making a realistic assessment of how much something will cost to fix versus how much time and money you will spend disputing something is crucial.
That is not to say you should let tenants off with everything. If you believe you have good reason to hold a tenant accountable, seek legal help to examine your options.