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Security Deposit/Normal wear and tear?

Our tenants of almost 11 years recently moved out of the house after giving a 30 day notice.  They always paid their rent on time.  So far, so good. Right?  The fact of the matter is they both smoke...constantly.  The walls, ceilings, baseboards, light switches, fans, etc. are literally dripping w/nicotine.  I have certainly been aware of their smoking, although I never realized they would smoke perpetually, I still saw the stains building up over the years.  The house wreaks as it has permeated the walls, floors, etc.  I anticipated cleaning the walls and using a Kilz product and as good a paint as I could find.  BUT they decided to roll thin cheap white paint over the walls and ceilings, rather randomly as in painting around the fan about 3 inches out.  Over the light switches, leaving paint of the wood trim, etc.  These tenants have a terrible habit of not calling when there is a problem.  Such as the storm door handle had a problem.  Rather than call us, he took the handle off the back door rendering it useless.  You can't lock it or open from the outside because their is no doorknob!  The cost to replace this is $140.00.  I feel they should pay for it since I was not notified and they moved out leaving it without a handle.   The lease clearly states they are not to paint or alter the house in anyway without written permission from the landlord.  They are well aware of this but decided to basically try to "hide" the damage via the paint smears.   What say ye???  I need feedback!
1 Comment

To me, it sounds like what you are talking about goes beyond "normal wear and tear".  Take a look at this webpage which gives some examples of what is and what is not normal wear and tear:   In my opinion, damages caused by a tenant's excessive cigarette smoking is not normal wear and tear.
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