Rental Maintenance: Landlord and Tenant’s Obligations

Rental property requires regular maintenance and when a landlord and a tenant sign a lease agreement, they are getting into a contractual relationship as to its upkeep. The shared responsibilities and obligations need to be clearly delineated in the lease and must be compliant with applicable state laws. Understanding who’s responsible for what might be the best way to prevent any potential disputes.

The Landlord’s Responsibilities

Landlords are responsible for paying the property tax and providing a functional, habitable home for a tenant.

Some of the basic landlord’s duties include:

  • Exercising due diligence by addressing all defects and hazards within the rental unit prior to the tenant moving in, let he be held accountable for any injuries and illnesses that they may later incur.
  • Complying with all state and local health and building codes and making sure that the property’s structural components and common areas are in order.
  • Providing adequate heat, electric, air conditioning, and hot and cold water facilities, as well as pest control;
  • Maintaining safety features and repair them as needed.
  • Ensuring appropriate trash disposal receptacles and arranging for regular pickup.
  • Keeping elevators and other common-use systems in good condition.
  • Addressing requested repairs properly and promptly. Keep in mind that landlords must give notice before entering a rental unit, except in cases of emergency and that you are not responsible for repairing damages that were caused by the tenant, his guests, or pets. Some state and local laws allow for tenants to hire someone to make repairs, and then deduct the cost from the rent with a landlord’s consent.

Make sure you abiding by all stipulations in a lease agreement if you expect your tenant to comply with his and to avoid being found negligent if sued. At the end of the lease, you must return them with the entire security deposit if there’s nothing beyond normal wear and tear. If you need to keep any portion of the deposit for repairs, make sure you provide the tenant with an itemized list, costs included.

The Tenant’s Responsibilities

Landlords are generally required to keep up with most property maintenance, but since Lease Agreements require that a property should be returned in the same condition it was at the beginning of the rental term, there are some aspects that the tenant must account for.

Tenants are expected to:

  • Keep the property clean and properly manage and dispose of any garbage.
  • Report structural damages and maintenance issues timely so that the landlord can properly address the issue.
  • Avoid deliberate or negligent damage by using rental’s fixtures properly.
  • Account for damage like broken windows and scratches or holes the wall or flooring.
  • Report any issues in a timely manner so the landlord can address them promptly.
  • Follow guidelines specific to common areas, such as the pool and the gym. 

The residential lease agreement may also assign responsibility for keeping pipes clear and replacing air filters as necessary to the tenant and require them to clean mold should any be discovered. Landscaping obligations can fall on either party; in any case, they must be aware of local laws and the Home Owner’s Association rules.

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