A lease provision that requires the tenant to "return the leased premises in good repair" at the end of the lease term does not require the tenant to build a new building or pay for a building that was destroyed without any fault or negligence on the part of the tenant. Read the Law: Maryland Code, Real Property, Section 8-113

However, the law imposes on a tenant the obligation to return the premises at the end of the tenancy in substantially the same condition as when he moved in. Also, the tenant is responsible for any damage caused by his negligence. But the tenant is not liable for damage caused by the elements or resulting from "ordinary wear and tear." Read the law: Maryland Code, Real Property, Section 8-203(f)(1)(i)

The following interpretations of this phrase indicate how it is used:

"Even in the absence of an express covenant, the law imposes on a tenant the obligation to return the premises at the termination of the tenancy substantially in the same condition as when he received possession and to restore the leased property to the landlord at the end of the term unimpaired by the negligence of the tenant. A tenant, however, is not liable for damage to the premises ensuing from a reasonable use or for damage caused by the elements. Where the tenant has made unauthorized alterations in the premises, he must at the termination of the lease restore them to their former condition without expense to the landlord; and even where the landlord impliedly consented to alterations by the tenant, the tenant is not excused from leaving the premises in good order and condition, on termination of the lease." (C.J.S., Landlord and Tenant, Section 408)

Words and Phrases (West Publishing Co.), Volume 30, page 474, quotes from cases as follows:

"Ordinary wear and tear in lease requiring tenant to surrender furnishings in leased premises in condition received, 'ordinary wear and tear' excepted, means wear which property undergoes when tenant does nothing more than to come and go and perform acts usually incident to an ordinary way of life."  Tirrell v. Osborn, D.C. Mun. App., 55 A.2nd 725, 727 (1947).

"In general, the ordinary reasonable use and wear of property by a tenant has relation to the depreciation in condition of building or property which it undergoes during the tenant's occupation, when the tenant in the case of a residence, at least, does nothing in connection with the use more than to come and go and perform the acts usually incident to creating and maintaining conditions for living in the ordinary way."  Taylor v. Campbell, 108 N.Y.S. 399, 400, 123 App. Div. 698 (1908).


Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. (BNI), edited by Rachel Wolpert, Esq., Maryland Legal Aid

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