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7 Maintenance Tasks that Landlords Are Not Responsible For

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7 Maintenance Tasks that Landlords Are Not Responsible For
4 min. read

Image: Helioscribe / Shutterstock.com

After giving your tenant the key to the property, you will most likely be expected to provide the occasional maintenance. Yet that doesn’t mean that, as a landlord, you are constantly on-call. Read on to find out which maintenance tasks you are not responsible for as the landlord.

Repairing property damage caused by tenants

As a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure that the space your tenant is moving into is livable. Yet if the tenant damages the property during their lease, then fixing it becomes their responsibility. Broken windows, dismantled fixtures, a hole in the wall, even water damage caused by leaving the taps running, are just some examples of the type of damage your tenants can cause, and can be held accountable for.

Fixing appliances damaged by tenants

You might have a tenant who forgot a fork on their plate before heating it, causing damage to the microwave, or even one who decided to overload the washing machine, causing damage to the drum and bearings. Or you might even find that one of your tenants broke the fridge door. Whenever your appliances are damaged by the tenants, it is their responsibility to fix them. Also, it’s good to bear in mind that damage caused by improper use will not be covered by the appliance’s manufacturer warranty, so any costs associated with either fixing or replacing it can be deducted from the deposit.

Minor maintenance jobs

Tenants should be able to fix minor plumbing issues themselves, such as a clogged drain or a running toilet bowl. They are also allowed to change light bulbs, yet if the property has a smoke alarm, changing the batteries on it is your task as a landlord. It’s always best to outline which maintenance jobs the tenants are allowed to perform on the property in the lease agreement, in order to avoid potential disagreements.

Service calls caused by neglect

Some service calls are always best handled by the landlord, such as maintenance work that needs to be done on the electricity or gas lines. However, if you are required to call in a professional to repair something that was caused by the tenants’ neglect, then your tenants are also the ones responsible for the costs. Examples include plumbing issues caused by flushing large items down the toilet, ants making their way into the property due to improper waste disposal, or mold infestation caused by the tenants not providing adequate ventilation. Tenants can also be held accountable for making service calls without letting the landlord know about beforehand, in which case, they are also responsible for the bill.

Damage done by pets

If you’re a landlord who allows animals in the rental property, then you must also bear in mind that even the best-behaved pet will leave a mark on the house. This can be anything from scratches on the walls and flooring, carpets and furniture that now have a coating of hair, even smells that persist in the property after the tenants and their furry friends have moved out. Any damage done by pets, whether accidental or caused by their owners’ neglect, must be dealt with by the tenant, in accordance with the lease agreement.

Outdoor maintenance

If the property you’re renting is a house, it will be the tenants’ responsibility to take care of basic maintenance around the yard. Depending on what is outlined in your lease agreement, this can include raking the leaves, mowing the lawn, maintaining the landscaping, and even shoveling snow in winter. Of course, if your yard requires major maintenance, such as cutting down tree branches because they present a falling hazard, or if the roof needs any repairs, you as the landlord will have to hire a professional for the job.

Cleaning up after the tenant has moved out

This last item on the list is pretty much common sense, yet as a landlord, it’s always best to be prepared, and make sure that your tenants are aware of the fact that cleaning the property before they move out is their responsibility. Vacuuming, throwing away the trash and any items they no longer need, mopping the floors, wiping the tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, these are all jobs that fall in the tenants’ court. Depending on the lease agreement you have drawn out, tenants could also be responsible for having the carpets cleaned professionally, or fixing any damage done to the walls by nail holes.

When trying to determine which maintenance tasks are your responsibility as a landlord, it’s also wise to differentiate between wear and tear, and property damage. Therefore, always be sure to outline your tenants’ responsibilities in the lease contract, and discuss the fact that any damage repairs will be deducted from their deposit.

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