Although it may be the least desirable, property maintenance is one of the most critical tasks when it comes to landlord and tenant responsibilities. Not only is it the landlord’s job to make sure things are in order, but tenants also have obligations to keep the rental unit maintained and free of damages.
Depending on the season, there are different tasks such as shoveling snow, raking leaves, and watering the lawn that must be taken care of in order to keep your property looking well-maintained. These types of tasks are either the landlord’s maintenance responsibility or the tenant’s, depending on what’s stated in the lease agreement.
As a landlord, it may be simple for maintenance to go unnoticed since you’re not the one who is living there. However, you can’t always rely on tenants to report damages or concerns when they pop up. Because of this, we’ve come up with a few things that both tenants and landlords can do to keep the rental property up to high standards.
Why is Maintenance Important?
Regular upkeep is extremely important in a rental property because if preventative maintenance goes ignored, you may end up with more damages in the long run. All landlords should prepare for emergencies and save funds for such occasions.
With that, there is a huge difference between tenant responsibilities and landlord responsibilities. Landlords should include certain responsibilities in the lease and provide the tenant with this prior to them moving into the property. Typically, this will consist of cleaning or maintenance fees and standards for the property to be kept and maintained.
Without setting these agreements on a lease, you may end up with more damages than you bargained for. When you make such additions to your lease, it’s also important to consider the seasons and decide whether you will provide seasonal maintenance or the tenant will take care of it.
I’m sure all tenants can say they’d like to live in a well-maintained living space. However, then it’s partly their job to keep it well-maintained. When a tenant reads through their lease agreement, they learn that they will be responsible for some maintenance. Let’s take a look at some of the common maintenance issues that are on most rental property maintenance checklists.
For example, tenants should make sure the home is following all the housing and safety codes, such as occupancy standard, which is usually two occupants per bedroom. If this agreement is broken, unauthorized occupants may present safety hazards and unforeseen maintenance issues.
Along with that, tenants must keep the property safe and clean to avoid unsanitary conditions that may affect the occupant’s health or lead to damages within the home. Usually, there is a garbage policy on the lease which states what you should do with your garbage each week. Tenants should also keep the property safe and free of safety hazards. Making sure the smoke detectors are working is one step that should be considered regularly.
Some maintenance issues landlords are going to have to deal with—for example, leaks or more extensive damages that unexpectedly appear. Tenants should report these issues to landlords immediately to avoid creating even more damage to the property.
As stated before, seasonal maintenance should be taken into consideration. Most lease agreements disclose who will take care of snow removal, grass cutting, raking leaves, watering the grass, and more. If the tenant doesn’t take care of this when prompted, it could lead to safety hazards and make the home look unmaintained.
Although it goes without saying, tenants are also responsible for daily, weekly, and monthly activities such as:
- Using all appliances properly
- Paying rent on time each month
- Keeping regular damages at a minimum
If tenants fail to follow the requirements listed on the lease, they may be subject to cleaning or repair fees when they decide to leave the property.
When someone buys a home for the purpose of renting it out to tenants, there are specific laws that must be followed by the landlord. For example, building codes and regulations. To avoid breaking safety codes or laws, it’s important to cover these maintenance tasks in the lease.
Some of the most common building codes that must be maintained by landlords include:
- Providing working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Preventing mold issues from arising
- Taking care of pest infestations quickly
- Address safety issues that may arise within the home
When a tenant moves into your property, they are expecting all the appliances, water, and electricity to be fully working. If these things are not working, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to get things in working order per the lease agreement. If utilities or appliances are not working because the bills are unpaid by the tenant, then it’s the tenant’s responsibility to pay their bill.
Landlords should come up with a viable garbage plan and supply proper equipment to dispose of garbage safely and efficiently. Keeping up with regular trash disposal helps reduce the chance of pest infestations and sanitary issues.
Finally, landlords are responsible for making repairs or renovations throughout the rental home. Whether it’s time for a flooring replacement or a fresh coat of paint on each wall, landlords are more than likely responsible for taking care of these tasks when the time comes.