My spouse, daughter and I stayed in a rental apartment for 2 years and we recently moved out. Today I received a moving out statement from the rental company which mentions bathroom and bathtub resurfacing charges of $400. Since there were only 3 of us and we had two bathrooms, AFAIC, it was normal wear and tear (white color getting dull). There is no other damage.

I'm not sure if rental company should charge me for normal wear and tear or even if it can be classified as normal wear and tear. I need your help to understand if it's worth contesting these charges. I am attaching screenshots of bathroom and bathtub for your reference.

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  • Which country/state are you in? Do you happen to have a 'before' picture?
    – Hart CO
    Jun 23, 2020 at 23:29
  • @HartCO: State is New Jersey, USA. Unfortunately I dont have 'before' pictures.
    – PanKa
    Jun 23, 2020 at 23:32
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because this has nothing to do with personal finance.
    – Pete B.
    Jun 24, 2020 at 18:14
  • 1
    Tell them it's normal wear and tear and they can't charge you for it.. Maybe they're just seeing what they can get away with and will back down if you challenge them. Worst they can do is not change their mind.
    – Kat
    Jun 25, 2020 at 0:29
  • 1
    @PeteB. OP wants to know if they should dispute a charge from the landlord. This is a pretty common question and directly related to getting your deposit back. Seems pretty on-topic to me.
    – Nosjack
    Jun 25, 2020 at 14:31

2 Answers 2


New Jersey law seems pretty clear that landlords can only charge for things in excess of "ordinary wear and tear".

The landlord can only charge you for property damage that is more than ordinary wear and tear. Ordinary wear and tear means damage that takes place from the normal, careful use of the property. Examples of normal wear and tear are faded paint on the walls, loose tile in the bathroom, window cracks caused by winter weather, or leaky faucets or radiators.

Emphasis mine.

I would argue that soap scum and/or discoloration of the shower is equivalent to faded paint. You did not misuse the shower and cause the discoloration, that's just what happens over time.

Definitely worth contesting. The $400 charge is ridiculous since the bathrooms probably only need a good scrubbing. Respond to the landlord and say that according to NJ law you only have to pay for things over ordinary wear and tear.


Always make sure that you are there for a walk through. That is their opportunity to point out problems, and if they are an easy fix then they generally will give you 5 minutes to make the fix.

New jersey law

There are steps you can take to prevent a landlord from charging you for ordinary wear and tear, cleaning, or painting. Before you move out, ask the landlord or superintendent to personally inspect the apartment. Then ask that person to sign a note stating that you left the apartment clean and undamaged. If you cannot get the landlord or superintendent to inspect the unit, have a friend do so. Ask your friend to take photographs, and sign and date them. If you have a friend do this, make sure the friend can go to court with you if necessary. If you end up in court, the judge will not accept a letter from your friend as evidence.

make sure they did give you the proper notice:

Within 30 days after you move out, the landlord must return your security deposit and interest, less any rent you owe or any charges for repairing damage that you have done to the property. If the landlord deducts any amounts for damages or rent, he or she must give you a complete list of the damages he or she claims you did to the property and the cost of repairs. The landlord must send you the list of damages by registered or certified mail, and the landlord must return to you any money left over from your security deposit. Cite: N.J.S.A. 46:8-21.1.

They should have an itemized bill, they need to have actually made the repair they are charging you for. Ask for the picture taken after the repairs.

Don't forget they might even owe you interest.

you do have recourse:

Going to court to get back your security deposit
If, after 30 days, the landlord has not returned your security deposit, you can file a complaint against the landlord in Small Claims Court. The Rent Security Deposit Act states that if the court finds that a landlord wrongfully refused to return all or part of a tenant’s security deposit, the court must order the landlord to pay the tenant double the amount of the security deposit if it is not returned at all, or double the amount that the landlord wrongfully deducted from the deposit.

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