Routine maintenance is needed to keep your rental properties in pristine condition and helps you maintain long-term tenants. Familiarizing yourself with the landlord-tenant law will help you understand your responsibilities as the owner. You also need to be aware of which maintenance responsibilities fall on your tenant’s shoulders.
5 Property Maintenance Responsibilities of a Landlord
Based on the landlord-tenant law, rental property owners should keep the house in livable condition. Landlord obligations may vary depending on where the property is located, however, this is a list of common duties landlords are expected to fulfill when maintaining the properties:
Abide by the Building Regulations
It’s the landlord’s duty to keep the renters healthy and safe during their stay in the rental property. Building regulations include, but are not limited to:
- Communicating the allowed number of renters
- Carrying out periodic building inspection
- Providing proper plumbing and electrical systems
- Placing carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in the units
- Ensuring the property is mold and pest-free
Supply Clean, Running Water
Day-to-day activities will require tenants to use running water. These activities can include taking a bath, washing the dishes, and doing the laundry. Tenants should have access to hot water, so a functioning water heater must also be provided. Toilets must also be functional to maintain a habitable living environment.
Provide Garbage Containers
Owners are expected to provide their tenants with trash receptacles and inform them of the proper garbage disposal methods and schedule.
Owners should also be well-informed on how many garbage bins or dumpsters should be provided based on the number of tenants in the building. It’s always best to communicate with your town representatives to adhere to the guidelines.
Secure Shared Spaces of the Property
Shared areas of the rental property must be secured. Stairs should be safe, clear from hazards, and well-lit. Make sure that emergency exits are clearly marked and easy to access. The main entry points to the property should also be secure so check all doors, windows, and locks.
Schedule Repairs and Ensure Basic Amenities are Working
All basic amenities and utilities should be working as expected. If property damage is reported, landlords can assist the renters in doing basic repairs. When all else fails, a contractor must be sent to check and fix whatever is broken.
Depending on the landlord and tenant’s lease agreement, certain repairs can be shouldered by the renter. If it had been established that the renter will pay for the utility bills, they should make sure that it’s paid on time to maximize the use of the amenities and utilities included in the house.
Four Maintenance Duties of Tenants
While landlords have responsibilities in keeping the property in a certain condition, tenants also have a fair share of tasks in the property upkeep. The tenants’ duties may also be specific to state laws but in general, they are legally required to help by:
Following Building and Housing Regulations
Just as landlords are required to abide by the building codes, tenants must also follow these regulations. Tenants must disclose the number of renters that will occupy the space. This avoids faster wear and tear on the utilities and compromises the safety of the structure.
Keeping the Property Clean
Trash should be taken out of the house and thrown in its proper bins. When piled up, garbage could invite pests into the property and even cause health issues.
It’s also the renter’s job to prevent mold growth due to excessive moisture accumulation. Simply opening windows in places that often get wet can be a big help. Any appearance of mold in the rental property should be reported immediately so the landlord can address it accordingly.
Promoting Safety in the Property
A tenant’s belongings must be put away such that they are not blocking any emergency exits. These exits are expected to be accessible to all tenants, at all times. Carbon monoxide detectors or smoke alarm batteries must be replaced regularly.
In addition, tenants must consult with their landlord before making any renovations on the property such as drilling into or repainting walls to prevent the risk of disturbing hazardous lead paint. This is especially important for properties built before 1978.
Taking Care of the Property
It’s reasonable that you keep the house clean. All basic appliances provided by the landlord should be wiped or washed after use and plumbing fixtures must be used for their intended purpose.
All other equipment provided inside the rental must be used with care and cleaned up after use. Avoid performing activities that could potentially destroy or break the decors, furnishings, and fixtures.
Additional Maintenance Opportunities
Learning your responsibilities as a landlord and the legally acceptable duties of a tenant in maintaining your rental property allows both parties to care for the rental. That said, always be considerate of your tenant and gauge their skills before assigning certain maintenance responsibilities to them.
You can ask them to perform some seasonal tasks as well, like shoveling snow, raking leaves, cutting grass, and cleaning gutters. You can ask them to take care of disposing of their garbage once you’ve provided sufficient trash cans and communicated the garbage collection schedule.
These are all good maintenance tasks and duties that your tenants can do on your behalf. But the best thing that they can do when anything breaks is to report it to you immediately. Both you and your tenant must work together in fixing what’s damaged early.
As the landlord, you are accountable for all the required property repairs. Just because some chores seem to be easy to do, doesn’t mean you can force the renters to address the issues themselves. If both parties have agreed that the tenant will take care of their assigned chores, always put it in writing to ensure all parties are protected.
Maintenance and upkeep can be fulfilling but requires a lot of time and skills. If you need help managing your rentals contact Keyrenter Hampton Roads today! We will not only take care of the property renovations and maintenance but also address any other property management tasks during your tenant’s stay.