Dishing Dirt

“What constitutes ‘normal wear and tear’? “

This has to be one of the most difficult and contested areas of the rental scene, because it varies so wildly from one landlord to another. We have spent an inordinate amount of time mulling this over, trying different ‘formulas’ and finding ultimately, there is no easy answer. In an attempt to lend as much light to Ithaca Artisan’s policies as we possibly can, we are offering the following.
To us here at Ithaca Artisan ‘Normal wear and tear’ is stuff like:
• Floor tile wearing thin from being walked on.
• Carpet crushing down in travel lanes.
• A dozen or so (per room) little holes in the walls made by picture hangers. Screws and molly bolts make BIG holes, and we do not consider them normal wear and tear.
• A reasonable quantity of inadvertent scuff marks on wall trim and doors. “Reasonable” means we can handle them with a bit of paint and a brush, eg, it doesn’t take a major painting effort to make them all disappear. We do make allowances for small kids, they are less coordinated than adults are (or should be, anyways!)
• Things that normally wear out over time from normal use: door sweeps for instance.
• Carpets that come clean and fresh with a one-time-over effort of our amazing carpet cleaning service people, Forkers Carpet.
Normal wear and tear is NOT dirt. What constitutes dirt? To us, dirt is:
• Anything that can get washed off, vacuumed up, swept up (or down, as in the case of cobwebs) or scrubbed clean with the application of the proper cleaning product and elbow grease.
• If it wasn’t there when you moved in, it has to be cleaned up, whether you actively introduced it (like dirt on your shoes) or it wafted in upon the summer breezes, or was put there by everyday cooking or those lovely candles that look so nice in the winter time.
• It includes dirt/dust/smudges and dark marks on the windows, doors, trim, walls, floors AND ceilings!
• All the accumulation on all the “usual suspects” in the bath and kitchen: appliances, cabinets, toilets, tubs, sinks and so on.
• If it does not come off easily (as in the case of some soot deposits) and we have to repaint, that is not a normal wear and tear item.
• Urine stains/soaked in odors. (another of those tough to fix things)
When we set these parameters, we put ourselves in the renters’ shoes: would we feel this was fair if we were the ones renting our apartments? We are striving for each apartment to be as clean as the day you moved in, minus normal wear and tear such as outlined above. We also understand that folks are very often under the gun when moving out, and getting everything spic and span can be nigh on impossible. We are working on building a list of reliable and capable cleaning companies whom you can call in if you need help. We are also going to a check in/checkout list to help folks know where they stand. We hope that by making the whole process as transparent as we possibly can results in the easiest possible transitions for all involved.