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Landlords vs. Tenants: Who should Take Care of Maintenance?

When it comes to maintenance, landlords and tenants often find that the rules are rather vague. Many tenants have no problem performing small maintenance work like changing air filters, but they are not certain what exactly they need to do. On the other hand, landlords may prefer it if their tenants do not perform maintenance duties for different reasons. When it comes down to it, who actually has maintenance responsibilities?

Maintenance for Tenants

Generally speaking, keeping rental properties clean and sanitary is the tenants’ responsibility. This can mean that they should handle bug infestations that occurred after they moved in. Tenants are also generally expected to fix anything that they break. However, normal wear and tear is not included in this category. But if they break a window, paying the bill is their duty.

When it comes to general maintenance, ensuring that rental properties are in clean working order is the tenants’ responsibility. The landlord should be notified immediately if any problem is spotted. Plumbing fixtures should be kept as clean as possible to make sure they work properly at all times. When it comes to general maintenance, tenants are responsible only if they cause the damage, such as broken fixtures, tiles or windows, holes in the walls, etc.

Maintenance for Landlords

Landlords are generally responsible for maintenance. Some maintenance items can be included in a lease, but necessary maintenance should be performed by the landlords.

Before a new tenant moves in, the landlord should perform maintenance so that the rental is in habitable condition and the property has enough heat, power, and water. It must be clean and in solid structural shape as well.

Landlords should also ensure that their properties correlate with the legal guidelines. Additional laws are put into place in many states to ensure tenant safety. For instance, in many states, landlords are required to ensure that doors and windows can lock securely. Landlords are also accountable for lighting and ventilation.

Sometimes, tenants may offer doing maintenance in exchange for rent reduction. The landlord can accept or decline this offer. If the job is not done properly, the landlord has the right to rescind their part of the deal. When this happens, the landlord has to complete the maintenance.

State laws vary, but maintenance should be done on time. If the tenant is forced to hire a maintenance contractor, the responsibility for the bill generally goes to the landlord. Of course, this does not apply if the maintenance is due to the tenant’s mistake.

As you can see, the maintenance roles of the landlord and tenant are fairly simple. The law requires tenants to keep their rental properties clean and in good condition and take responsibility for the bills if they cause any damage.

Landlords should keep their properties habitable, which means maintenance must be performed on time. In between tenants, they should inspect properties to make sure that they are clean, habitable, in good order, and up to code.

Some maintenance items can be included in the lease, but the landlord is ultimately responsible.