When deciding to rent out your second home, it is very important to understand these two concepts and how they differ.

Wear & Tear

Normal wear & tear is defined as the inevitable and expected physical decline of a property’s condition that occurs with everyday, reasonable use. It is the deterioration that occurs over the course of living on a property, but it is NOT caused by abuse or neglect. It is only noticeable over time. Due to normal wear and tear, you can expect to replace things on a regular basis as part of the cost of doing business.

In a home being used as a vacation rental, what constitutes “normal” use is greatly heightened due to the sheer volume of occupants who will vacation in your home each year. This idea applies if you rent, donate, or simply let someone use the property. Ordinary things like furniture, paint, kitchen appliances, blinds, and carpeting that have a pretty long lifespan in your primary residence will need to be replaced much sooner in your vacation rental.

Examples of Normal Wear and Tear:

  • A couple of small stains on a carpet
  • A couple of scrapes or dings on a wood floor
  • The fading of carpet color or hardwood due to exposure to sunlight
  • Dirty grout
  • Loose door handles
  • Broken handles on pots and pans

Guest Damage & Negligence

On the other hand, guest damage is any damage incurred beyond the normal use of a Los Cabos vacation rental home. Damage is not naturally occurring. It is harm done that affects the value, usefulness or normal function of the property. This damage can be committed on purpose, or through neglect. Most damages incurred are accidental.

Examples of Damage:

  • A smashed bathroom mirror
  • A broken toilet seat
  • A hole in the middle of a door
  • Damaged or missing door handles/locks
  • Missing multi-functional remote

It is expected that you should attempt to repair any damages before replacing anything entirely. For example, you would be able to use the security deposit for the repair of a chipped granite counter-top, but you cannot expect the renter to pay for the replacement of the entire counter-top. Also, charging for small items such as broken wine glasses, clothes hangers, etc. is not recommended as this can easily backfire and leave a negative impression. Again, you can expect to replace things on a regular basis as part of the cost of doing business.

Preparation & Prevention

Now that you understand the differences between normal wear & tear and guest damage, it is important to consider the things you can do to avoid damages as much as possible. For example, sealing your Cantera stone floor every year will help prevent any stains from spilled wine, sunblock, etc. Additionally, you can limit the number of wear and tear touch points and opportunities for accidental damage by making a guest’s stay as easy as possible. For example, labeling your cabinets and drawers will show guests exactly where to go to find each item they need without hunting for it. Please note that it is important not to leave items that could easily be damaged in the vacation rental in the first place.

In summary, gray areas, preventable issues, and unnecessary stress can all be reduced with a little preparation, organization, and clear communication with your property management company. It is very important to have an experienced Cabo property management company who will conduct a Check-In and Check-Out inventory. This will give you a better understanding of your property’s condition before and after every rental. And keep in mind that even though these are some good guidelines to determine the difference between normal wear & tear and guest damages, each incident should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

This article was written by RODRIGO GOMEZ, for informational purposes only and are not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely or act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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