Should Landlords Require Tenants to do Rental Repairs?

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on May 10, 2011 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

screen tenants, tenant background checkKen is a long-time landlord who, in his own words, is getting tired of constant requests from tenants for maintenance and repairs in his rental units. Ken’s 6-unit building is beginning to show signs of age, and he’d love to make each tenant responsible to repair or replace their apartment’s appliances and heating system when they stop working properly. In fact, he’s thinking about adding this clause to his lease agreement.

Is this a good idea?

Experts don’t recommend landlords allows tenants to perform upkeep, preventive maintenance or repairs for a number of reasons:

  1. A tenant’s level of competence with repairs and maintenance is a complete unknown.
  2. Tenants may not repair appliances to an acceptable level—especially since they don’t own them.
  3. The liability of having a tenant work on electrical equipment is just too great. If they harm themselves or others, the landlord could face a liability suit.
  4. It’s not likely you’ll find a tenant who will properly perform preventative maintenance when it needs to be done or who will pay someone else to do it.
  5. Most renters like the fact that they are not responsible for repairs and maintenance—otherwise, they’d be homeowners.
  6. Putting such an important aspect of property ownership under the control of one’s tenants is just too big of a risk to take.

Ken might want to think about raising his rental rates to a level that will cover the expense of hiring a maintenance professional.

When a rental property starts deteriorating, it’s usually worth the effort and expense to fix it up. You’ll not only have a property you can be proud of, you’ll also attract tenants who care about their living quarters and will help you keep it in good shape. With a strong rental market, more landlords can afford to make improvements and upgrade their rental properties—and their tenants!

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