Tenant Stained the Driveway With Oil Leaks, Can We Charge Them?

Tenant Stained the Driveway With Oil Leaks, Can We Charge Them Ask Attorney Brad

Ask attorney Brad is a feature with attorney Bradley S. Kraus and the question is about tenant stained driveway and who pays. If you have a landlord question for Brad, please feel out the form below. He cannot answer questions from tenants.

Hello Brad,

Through a property-management company, our two-year tenant stained the garage and driveway with oil leaks from their car. The home is 2 years old, new construction. A power-wash company can’t get the large stains removed. We charged the tenant for cleaning; can we charge additional for the permanent damage?

– Thank you, Bruce

Hello Bruce,

Thank you for reaching out. Much like the internal area of the premises, your tenants can cause damage to the exterior of the premises as well. The key is whether such a charge is beyond “normal wear and tear,” an amorphous standard which depends on the facts. Assuming your facts meet that standard, then yes, you could technically pursue your tenants for the damages.

The question becomes what amount you could pursue. Again, this would depend on a number of factors that can’t be properly covered in this answer. However, if the stains cannot be removed, or if the amount of money it requires to do so is high enough, it may make sense to pursue your damages civilly.


Bradley S. Kraus is an attorney at Warren Allen LLP. His primary practice area is landlord/tenant law, but he also assists clients with various litigation matters, probate matters, real estate disputes, and family law matters. You can reach him at kraus@warrenallen.com or at 503-255-8795.

Ask Attorney Brad: Tenant Stained the Driveway With Oil Leaks, Can We Charge Them?
Bradley Kraus, Portland attorney

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