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As landlords and property managers you have many things you are responsible for when it comes to your property. There are some things that fall under the care of your tenants. Here are seven things that tenants are responsible for when it comes to maintenance within your property.
Note: I am not a lawyer and the items mentioned are not necessarily required by law.
- Mold prevention
If there is mold on the property caused by a faulty water line or plumbing you (as the landlord) are responsible for any mold that develops from those conditions. If, however, the mold occurred because there was not proper ventilation in the bathroom while your tenant was showering, they are responsible for any mold or mildew. Likewise leaving piles of damp and dirty clothes in a corner can also lead to mold or mildew that the tenant is responsible for cleaning up. If mold or mildew occurs on your walls or furniture because of poor ventilation it is up to the tenant to clean it off.
When a tenant moves in it is up to you to have the house bug and pest free. Once they have moved in it is your tenant’s responsibility to keep it that way. If your tenants have poor hygienic conditions which cause pests they could be held responsible financially for ridding the house of the pests. This is something that you want to be sure is in the lease before anyone moves in.
- Painted walls
If you are planning on letting tenants hang pictures or other objects on your walls you may want to specify in the lease how you want those holes repaired when the tenant moves out. They are responsible for taking care of the walls however they may think that patching them is enough.
In my units, the lease states that the repairs must be made to the satisfaction of the property owner or my representative. This means painting walls to match the current colors also.
- Prompt Notification
For things that tenants are not responsible for it is up to them to contact you in a timely manner. If they do not contact you any other damage caused by the original problem can be deducted from their security deposit. You need to make sure the lease specifies what you consider a timely manner. Also if your tenants cannot get a hold of you they may repair the problem and expect a reduction in rent for the month or their money back for any repair costs. If you do not want your tenants making repairs you must specify that in your lease also.
You must decide if you are going to pay the waste disposal fee or if you are going to include it in your tenant’s rent. Either way, they are responsible for disposing of garbage on the property. It is important for hygienic reasons to maintain adequate garbage control. Make sure you let your tenants know when and where to dispose of their waste products.
- Lawn Work
If the lease states that lawn work is the tenant’s responsibility then any ordinances that they violate will fall under their responsibility. They must take care of any landscaping needs and make sure the property is free of hazards. If they want to plant a garden, they must make sure it does not violate any state or local ordinances. If the property is fined because of failure to maintain landscaping your tenant will be responsible for paying the fines.
- Septic systems
You must include a clause in your lease regarding your septic system. Proper maintenance will help the system last a long time. If the septic system is damaged because of roots or other natural causes it is your responsibly to take care of the maintenance fees. If you have listed items that should not be put into drains and listed them in your lease and your tenant has ignored this list it will be the responsibility of your tenant to pay the bill for any damage caused to your septic system. Any damage to pipes or other parts of the system caused by pouring things down the drain that were not supposed to be there or hair clogs is the tenant’s responsibility.
As a landlord or property manager, you need to be aware of your rights when it comes to repairing things around your property. Including maintenance items and preventative measures in your lease will help to draw the line when it comes to repairs and upkeep for your property. Be sure your tenant knows what is expected of them before they move into the property.