How to Maintain Your Rental Property

How to Maintain Your Rental Property

As a landlord, you’re mandated by Landlord-Tenant Laws to keep your rental home in great shape for your tenants. Routine maintenance is necessary to achieve this in both short and long-term rentals!

This article includes content that will help you understand the obligations of both landlords and tenants as governed under Landlord-Tenant Law.

Property Maintenance Responsibilities of a Landlord

Generally, landlords are obligated to:

Provide Renters With Trash Receptacles

To ensure your rental doesn’t have any hygiene issues, you are dutybound to provide your tenants with trash bins for the rental property. The number and size of the garbage cans must be suitable for the number of renters staying in the unit and depends on the frequency of the trash collection.

Learning about local regulations when providing garbage bins to your tenants is imperative. Certain municipalities require landlords to create enclosures around the trash bins.

Supply Running Water

Tenants need access to running water while they live in your rental. Landlords are also responsible for providing a functional toilet and shower for their renters. Keeping your water heater in good shape is necessary so your renters can enjoy hot water anytime they want.

Comply with Building Codes

A safe and healthy environment must be provided to tenants by their landlord. Rental property owners must place smoke and carbon dioxide detectors properly and educate themselves on how to manage mold, lead paint and pest infestations.

Landlords should also ensure that the number of tenants occupying the rental unit doesn’t violate maximum occupancy ordinances. Maintaining plumbing and electrical systems and a sturdy foundation for the rental home are also a landlord’s responsibility.

Conduct Repairs

To keep your property in top condition, landlords must perform repairs when tenants request them. If a tenant damages the property, the landlord can let the renter shoulder the costs of fixing the damage.

Ensure Vital Services are Functioning

Given that plumbing, heating, electricity and gas are necessary to make a rental unit habitable, landlords must focus on keeping these utilities functioning. However, renters may also be responsible for paying utility bills on time depending on the terms of the lease agreement.

Ways Tenants are Mandated to Support Property Maintenance Under the Law

Although landlords are generally responsible for keeping their rental properties in great condition, tenants are also required to perform maintenance duties under Landlord-Tenant Laws. 

Tenants are required to:

Keep the Rental Unit Sanitary

Tenants must dispose of trash properly. Otherwise, it could become a health issue. Renters must clean the rental unit regularly to avoid pest infestations and other issues from occurring.

Promote Safety in the Rental

Any barriers to emergency exits must be removed by the renters. When emergencies happen, these exits must be accessible for safety. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors must also be in proper condition with working batteries and cannot be tampered with.

Adhere to Building and Housing Codes

Building laws must be followed by the renters. If the lease agreement states that two tenants occupy the rental, this should be the case. Allowing more renters to stay on the property can present a fire and safety issue. 

Utility bills will also be higher when more tenants are staying on the property. This could affect landlords if they are responsible for paying the utilities.

Prevent Mold Growth

Mold can develop when excess moisture gathers in the rental home. The tenants must prevent mold from growing by switching on the fan or opening the window in the bathroom when water is running to prevent mold growth. 

If mold does start to grow, tenants must inform the landlords right away so they can take appropriate measures.

Avoid Disturbing Lead Paint

Prior to 1978, properties often contained lead paint which can be hazardous to a tenant’s health. Renters must inform the landlords and seek permission if they want to conduct an activity that could disturb lead paint. Some of these activities include drilling holes to hang wall decor.

Treat the Property with Respect

Renters must show care and concern for the property. A reasonable degree of cleanliness is expected. Abuse and neglect must be avoided. This entails taking care of the following:

Plumbing Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures can be subject to rust and mold. Renters must do their best to clean these fixtures and avoid damage from occurring. 

Fixtures must also be used according to their function only. For instance, renters should avoid allowing food and coffee grounds to fall into sink drains.

Appliances Provided by the Landlord

Appliances in the rental that are supplied by the landlords must be cleaned by the renters. For instance, tenants should clean grease off their stove, remove rotten food from the refrigerator and wash the filter in the dishwasher once a week. 

Prevent Property Damage

The interior and exterior of the rental home must be safeguarded from damage. Normal wear and tear is acceptable regardless of whether you’re renting to a short or long-term tenant. but excess damage such as large holes in the walls or broken cabinets is not reasonable. You also want to ensure any provided furnishings are well maintained. 

Maintenance Responsibilities in the Lease

Landlords are not permitted to include a clause in the lease that requires tenants to be in charge of all property maintenance and repairs. There must be mutual agreement when it comes to performing fixes around the rental. If the repair is required due to negligent or abusive tenant damage then the renter is in charge of the repair costs.

Bottom Line

Understanding and completing your responsibilities as a landlord is important to running a successful rental and avoiding misunderstandings or legal issues with your tenants. However, keeping on top of maintenance issues can be tricky and may take up a lot of your time!

Fortunately, the experts at SCUDO Real Estate & Property Management can help! Our team is well equipped to make sure all of your maintenance responsibilities are taken care of and will ensure your tenants take care of your rental property so you can rest easy while we maximize your ROI!