There is some confusion as to who is responsible for maintenance on a rental property. Some maintenance aspects fall on the landlord and a few fall on the tenants. It is not all up to the landlord, and there is no obligation on the landlord to create cosmetic upgrades during the lease.
Take for example cold weather conditions and water leaks. You should specify ahead of time, in a lease or rental agreement, who is responsible for doing this type of health, safety and structural maintenance. To Learn More you may visit your nearest landlord-tenant law firm.
- Landlords are responsible for the structural maintenance of the property, which includes the painting and maintenance of the external walls and also the roof. This might encompass repairing roof leaks, repairing structural problems, or maintaining the grounds.
- They also are accountable for electrical wiring and plumbing. The landlord maintains the stove, plumbing, and electric fence, alarm systems, automatic gate motors, and pool pumps, if applicable.
- If there is a pool for tenant use, the landlord is accountable for any pool leaks and for keeping the pool water in healthy condition. The tenant keeps up the appearance of the inner aspects of the property, empties the trash regularly, and keeps the place sanitary so there is no health danger or violation.
- It is the landlords’ responsibility to make sure the property is compliant in terms of health and safety laws at the time of occupation by the tenant.
- Landlords should keep common areas clean with good lighting. The common areas need to be safe. Any stairs should have a stable handrail. Any flooring that might cause a tripping hazard should be repaired.
- Should general wear and tear occur, any repairs need to be done by the landlord. Householders’ insurance is advised for landlords in case of burst plumbing. This insurance does not cover wear and tear, but it can save landlords a huge expense in the long run if extensive repairs are needed in case of emergency.
The tenant needs to tell the landlord of any maintenance problems and has some supervision obligations to make the landlord aware of needed repairs.
- Any damage to the structure and fixtures as a result of the tenants’ negligence, or failing to report problems, or by not taking care of the premises, can lead to liability for tenants. In some rental-home agreements, tenants must keep gutters and pipes free from obstruction. Therefore blocked drains and roof leaks because gutters were not often cleaned out are going to be the tenant’s liability.
- Tenants should also follow the proper building and housing laws. If the tenant has signed a lease for two people, they cannot sneak extra people into the property. This is not just a safety issue. It creates a lot of wear and tear on the property and higher utility bills, which may be a problem if the landlord is the one paying for utilities.
- Any damage to the structure and fixtures because of the tenants’ negligence, or failing to report problems, or by not taking care of the premises, can lead to liability for the tenants. Having a property manager can ease these concerns because they will oversee everything.
- Tenants should make certain all emergency exits are accessible. Nothing should block any emergency exit from the unit or building. The tenant should not take away batteries from or otherwise tamper with smoke or carbon monoxide gas detectors.
- Tenants need to properly eliminate their garbage and not let it accumulate in their apartment or rental home. Excessive trash may produce a health issue. The tenant must keep the unit in a reasonably clean condition to prevent insect infestations and respiration problems.
Inspections should be done by external contractors to make sure everyone is in compliance and should include photos and written documents signed by all parties on-site at the review.