Landlords have many responsibilities regarding the upkeep and maintenance of their rental properties. While most landlords are familiar with some of these duties, such as keeping the property in good condition and making necessary repairs, they may not be aware of all of them. This article will discuss the extent of your duties as a landlord concerning maintenance and repair.
Importance of Proper Maintenance and Prompt Repair for Your Rental Property
As a landlord, keeping your rental property in good condition is important. Doing so will help ensure that your current tenants are happy and comfortable. Retaining tenants is vital to maintaining a steady income from your rental property.
In addition, potential tenants will be more likely to rent from you if they see that you take good care of your property. They will feel confident that you will be responsive to their needs and take care of any issues that may arise.
Additionally, proper maintenance can help prevent small problems from becoming bigger ones. A prompt repair can also save you money in the long run. For example, if you fix a leaky faucet immediately, you can avoid water damage to your property.
By taking good care of your rental property, you can ensure that it will continue to look attractive through the years. You can also maintain and even help increase its value.
It is important to note that, in some cases, neglected maintenance can result in legal action against the landlord. For example, if there are mold or mildew problems in the rental unit, the tenant may be able to sue the landlord if he or she can prove that the landlord was aware of the problem and failed to take action. Similarly, if the rental unit is in a state of disrepair and the landlord has been made aware of the issue, the tenant may be able to file a complaint with the local housing authority or take legal action.
Maintenance and Repair Duties Required of Landlords
The specific maintenance and repair tasks that are the landlord’s responsibility will vary depending on the laws in your state or municipality. In general, however, landlords are responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of the property, ensuring that it is in a habitable condition. This means that all utilities are in working order, and the property must be safe, clean, and free of hazards for tenants and guests.
The definition of a habitable condition varies per state. For example, in most states, landlords are not required to provide air conditioning. However, in Arizona, air conditioning is considered an essential service because temperatures easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Once a tenant has informed the landlord in writing that the air conditioner has broken down, the landlord has 10 days to get an AC repair service to fix it. If the landlord neglects to do so, the tenant can terminate the lease and sue the landlord for damages.
Landlords are also responsible for any damage that occurs due to negligence on their part. For example, if a pipe bursts and floods the rental unit, the landlord would be responsible for repairing the damage and covering any resulting costs, such as the cost of relocating the tenant. If the tenant’s belongings are damaged due to the flood, the landlord is liable and must cover the costs, as well.
Furthermore, landlords are responsible for making any repairs that are necessary to keep the rental property in good condition and up to code. For example, if the rental unit needs a new roof, the landlord would be responsible for paying for and arranging for the repair. In some cases, landlords may be able to pass along the cost of major repairs to tenants in the form of a rent increase. However, this is usually only possible if the repair is necessary due to normal wear and tear and not due to negligence on the landlord’s part.
It is important for landlords to keep up with any changes in local building codes. For example, if a municipality adopts a new building code that requires all rental units to have smoke detectors, the landlord would be responsible for installing smoke detectors in all units.
Be a Responsible Landlord
While the specific maintenance and repair tasks that landlords are responsible for vary depending on the laws in your state or municipality, there are some general guidelines that apply in most cases. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with both to ensure that you are meeting your obligations as a landlord and to avoid any legal action being taken against you. This will also ensure that you keep your current tenants happy and you attract high-quality tenants in the future. Furthermore, it will keep your property in good condition, which will protect your investment.