A Landlord’s Obligations To Repair And Maintain Rented Property

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on July 26, 2006 under Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

A landlord of a rental property is expected to ensure it is habitable and comfortable for his / her tenants. So much so, certain states even carry laws that govern maintenance of rental properties by landlords. Generally, taking care of one’s rental property is split between the two categories of maintenance and repair.

  • Repair. If anything on the rental property breaks, malfunctions, becomes inoperable, generally it is the responsibility of the landlord to carry out the repairs as quickly as possible, in order not to put the tenant to any kind of inconvenience. Repairs that are considered the necessities of daily life, include running and / or hot water, heating, air-conditioning, proper ventilation, etc., and should be fixed on a priority basis.Usually, a landlord is responsible for providing repairs when the damage caused is not the fault of the tenant, such as, a broken water line, an inoperable water heater or some such, where the problem is not due to any direct action of the tenant. Even so, if the damage has been deliberately caused by the tenant, such as knocking over a water heater, as a result of which it no longer functions, it is the landlord who is responsible for carrying out repairs and fixing the problem as quickly as possible, since hot water is deemed a basic necessity. While, a landlord may have to cover the initial costs of repair of replacement, he / she can bill the tenant who was responsible for knocking it over, in the first place.

    Similarly, if the property’s structure has been damaged, a landlord need’s to determine at whose door responsibility should be laid. Even if the tenant caused the damage and will have to pay for fixing it, it is still the responsibility of the landlord to get the repairs done. As well, there have been cases when a tenant fixed the damage and then tried to deduct the repair charges from the rent. Whether, you permit the tenant to get away with it or not, you should make sure they know you are to be notified about any accidents or damages, as soon as they occur.

  • Maintenance. As a rule, the landlord is responsible for the general maintenance and upkeep of his / her property. This can mean anything small, such as, mowing and maintaining the lawn to something as big as having a new roof put in. In case, you want the tenants to remove snow or mow the lawn, then you will have to state it in the lease agreement so that landlord / tenant duties and responsibilities are clear cut.Certain tenants will offer to maintain your property in lieu of a reduction in rent. It is for the landlord to determine how much rental discount can be given to a tenant for maintaining his / her property.

    For someone with several rental properties and little time to provide necessary repairs and maintenance, it makes sense to outsource these duties. A property management company or a maintenance worker can be hired to handle problems. Large apartment complexes will require living accommodation for your handy man so that repairs and other problems can be handled as soon as possible.

A word of advice, it is better to carry out preventive maintenance so that your property does not require excessive repairs over time. Despite all, it is a wise move on the part of the landlord if he / she screens prospective tenants thoroughly to ensure their property will be well looked after. Visit www.e-renter.com for tenant screening and background check services.

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