Repair and Maintenance: What are a Landlord’s Responsibilities?

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If you’re a landlord, you may be wondering what your responsibilities are. How much maintenance and general upkeep must you do? What, if anything, should the tenant do?

While regulations can vary by state, there are certain responsibilities that you should assume in order to keep your property in good standing and your tenant eager to continue living in your space.

Keep reading to learn what your responsibilities are regarding repair and maintenance!

Keep the Rental Space Livable

For starters, you want to make sure that your rental space is livable. This means taking on repair responsibilities.

What is included in repair and maintenance? It includes taking care of the basics — the heating and air conditioning, plumbing, appliances, pest control, and other things that make the space safe and suitable for tenants.

You don’t have to install heated flooring or a walk-in tub, but you do want to be attentive to a bat infestation or broken furnace. If you don’t, you will have violated what is called the warrant of habitability.

Not maintaining a habitable space means you could be liable. Even if you don’t state anything about the warrant of habitability in your lease agreement, it’s still a tenant’s assumed right.

Ask When To Enter For Repair and Maintenance

If you do need to repair something, you’ll need to ask your tenant’s permission before entering the property. Depending on where you live, you may need to provide notice a day or more in advance. Be sure to abide by this rule, as you could violate privacy standards otherwise.

And aim to respond to tenant concerns about repair and maintenance as quickly as possible. They’ll be thankful to you for it, and more likely to recommend the space to other prospective renters.

Know That Tenants Have Responsibilities, Too

As a landlord, not every issue should be yours to deal with — though you’ll probably deal with most of them. Tenants should do their part, too. But plenty of landlords grumble because their tenants don’t do their part.

Tenants need to notify you of major issues promptly, of course. Leaky toilets or electric problems fall under the “major issue” category.

Anything the tenant breaks through careless behavior ultimately is your responsibility to fix. It’s not a bad idea to interview or vet your tenants before they move in to make sure that you don’t have someone irresponsible on your hands.

A tenant should try to treat the property with care. Normal wear is to be expected over time, though, so when a tenant moves out, you can expect to have some deep cleaning and repairs in your future.

The Bottom Line

As a landlord, you have the opportunity to earn a nice income stream — but don’t be too passive about repair and maintenance. It’s important to let your tenants know that you can help them if anything needs repairs, and it’s important to act promptly.