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What Are Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

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Marina Shlomov - Monday, January 22, 2018

What Are Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

Tenants, just like landlords and property managers, also have maintenance responsibilities that they must do to maintain their agreement with their rental contract and property manager. Landlords and property managers know that it is the property owner’s responsibility to make major repairs to the property, but tenants still have their own list of maintenance responsibilities to abide by as well.

Tenants are required to keep the property clean and safe as well as remove trash and debris from the property. Most property owners will have in their contract that tenants are responsible for landscaping as well. Tenants are also in charge of ensuring that plumbing fixtures are well maintained. All plumbing, electric, heating, and air conditioning units should be used properly and maintained by regular use such as changing filters in the HVAC units, reporting water leaks in a timely basis, changing light bulbs and ensuring that batteries in the smoke alarm are changed on a regular basis.

If you are responsible for breaking or damaging an item, then you are responsible for fixing the item. If the item is broken due to regular use, the property owner is responsible for replacing or fixing the item. This item will be fixed if it is clear that normal wear and tear caused the issue and that the problem was not due to improper use. An example of normal wear and tear is carpet wear. This occurs over time and is not due to improper use; however, if the tenant burns a patch of carpet or spills an item that causes a permanent stain, then they are responsible for fixing this area of carpet.

Not performing proper maintenance may cause systems to fail, for example, not replacing HVAC filters will cause Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) units to break or not live to their life expectancy.  Landlord or property manager will very likely have a charge for coming out and changing the air filters. Some property management companies offer a program for tenants to pay them to come out and do regular maintenance like air filter change or gutter cleaning. Not taking care of a problem is still neglect which causes damage. Just like not reporting a water problem to the landlord or manager.

As a tenant, if you put something into the property that cannot be taken back when you move out, you should check with the property owner or manager to see if the improvement will be approved. I would recommend you speak with the property owner prior to performing any improvements, or be prepared to eat the cost of the improvement.

If you are at fault for the issue, such as a foreign object in a toilet, then you are responsible for paying for the repair. The homeowner is not liable for errors that were made on the tenant’s part. However, if the plumbing pipe bursts, due to no fault on the tenant, the homeowner must pay for this repair. This is why it is also important to have renter’s insurance if you do not own a property. If something happens to the home, the homeowner will be repaid with their home insurance. As a renter, you will get nothing for all of the items you have lost in the damaged home if you do not have your own renter’s insurance.

Ensuring that you comply with all items in your contract will help you to keep you from getting in to disputes, and it can prevent you from being held liable for things that might go wrong with the property. ALHPodland Rental Homes Property Management recommends that you keep up with all requirements or you are in danger of losing your deposit and having to replace items on top of that. Being honest and proactive is the best way to ensure you take care of your property and move out on good terms and with your deposit in your pocket.

Marina ShlomovMarina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Realty & Rental Homes Property Management is the author of many articles on Landlording, Property Management, and Real Estate Investing. A residential builder in the state of Georgia since 1999, Marina is an investor herself. Her property management company is intended “For Investors” and “By Investors” for a simple reason – she knows what investors’ goals are and she works hard to reach their goals. In her spare time, Marina likes to spend time with her family, friends, garden, read and travel. Check her out at You can find Marina’s articles and comments at @rentalhomesatl on Twitter, on FacebookGoogle+, Blogger. and YouTube, Bigger Pockets and REI CLub and LinkedIn.

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