What is Considered as “Fair Wear and Tear”

‘Normal wear and tear’ in Vietnam is usually the benchmark for what is ‘acceptable’ in order to get your security deposit back. These are ‘expected’ conditions such as small marks on the wall or small nail holes (not excessive amount). Anything more than the normal wear and tear may result in partial or full loss of your security deposit.

What is classified as normal wear and tear?

Each apartment rental in Vietnam will suffer some normal wear and tear due to regular daily use. So what typically falls under the acceptable normal wear?

  • Partially clogged sinks
  • Faded paint
  • Small nicks on floors and walls
  • Rugs discolored by sunlight
  • Small nail-sized holes (not excessive)
  • Frayed curtain cords and faded curtains
  • Carpet Traffic Marks
  • Loose door and window handles or hinges
  • Discolored paint around light switches

These issues arise as part of any lifestyle, so they are normal and are not considered a deal breaker when it comes to getting your security deposit back in full. Of course, be sure to read your lease to see if there’s anything in there about normal wear and tear to make sure it’s in compliance.

What is not-normal wear and tear?

While the items above are classified as normal wear and tear, there are a few issues (either accidental or deliberate) that can cause you to lose some or all of your security deposit. Here are some issues that are not classified as normal wear and tear.

  • Carpet damage or stains that cannot be removed
  • Cigarette burns and stains
  • Excessive amount of dirt in the apartment.
  • Urine or other strong odors
  • Large holes, spikes, and breaks in walls or floors
  • Stains or burns on the carpet.
  • Pet damage
  • Large number of nail holes or large holes in the walls
  • Broken doors and windows
  • Burns or stains on the countertop
  • Very scratched floors and walls
  • Write or scribble on wall paint
  • Major paint damage
  • Broken faucets in kitchens and bathrooms

Knowing the difference between what is normal and what is not can help you eliminate problems with your landlord. In some cases, you may be able to fix a couple of things on your own, so there are no disputes, while in other cases, you may lose all or part of your security deposit. Also, keep an eye out for other requirements to get your lease back, like professionally cleaning your carpets.

If you are concerned, take lots of pictures as proof that it is in good condition after moving in. But keep in mind that if you have caused any damage to the apartment that is not within the category of normal wear and tear, you may have to pay for the repairs (material and labor). If the damage occurs in excess of your security deposit, you are still responsible.

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