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Legal thought of the day: wear and tear

I cannot tell you how many times I have drafted a legal document involving real estate that says something to the effect that the property/premises will be returned or delivered in the same condition as the date of the contract, reasonable wear and tear excepted (or words of similar effect).

Here's some advice about this in the context of a Chicago apartment. In short, it is in the eyes of the beholder. Usually, scratches, paint, a little carpet wear -- that's OK. Nail hole? Ordinary. Fist hole? Not. HVAC? It depends on who was responsible for maintaining it; life expectancy and other factors can also come into play.

What do you do? Take pictures of the place so you have evidence. Write down a list of what is wrong at the outset. I know this sounds silly coming from a lawyer, but unless tyou have alocal law to the contrary, common sense is a good approach.