There are few things more inconvenient for landlords than troublesome tenants, and a tenant has few bigger nightmares than a neglectful or abusive landlord. While relationships between landlords and tenants may not always be perfect, maintaining a respectful and cooperative relationship is in the best interest of both parties. Having each party understand the responsibilities they have to one another is a great step to ensuring a positive relationship. The following are the basics.
The implied warranty of habitability is a landlord’s most basic responsibility. This is meant to ensure that any rented space is habitable, even if the landlord isn’t explicitly stated to be responsible for repairs. This warranty ensures that all rentals are clean and safe and have a functioning heating system and hot water.
Keeping up with safety codes is another basic responsibility for landlords. Different states and cities may have some differing codes, but there are some things that are universal. For example, any buildings built before 1978 must come with a notice warning tenants about lead paint, and mold must always be removed.
Occupancy standards will differ to an extent based on location, but the general rule of “two persons per bedroom” is considered reasonable by most. These standards are important to follow if a larger family is trying to rent a small space. Common areas such as hallways, laundry rooms, and stairways must also be kept safe at all times, and light bulbs or any other items that may need replacing in these areas are the landlord’s responsibility.
Landlords are also required to keep smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each unit. The amount that must be placed can vary based on state laws, but there are always basics to follow, such as placing detectors in sleeping areas.
Maintenance and repairs
Landlords are responsible for a wide variety of maintenance tasks for rental properties. Following a monthly extermination process for rodents and insects is important. Even if there are currently no signs of an infestation, you’ll still need to follow your routine to prevent one. The price of monthly extermination crews will be significantly cheaper than the price of losing multiple tenants over pest problems.
Checking for leaks and water damages should also be a monthly routine. It’s also worthwhile to check shortly after a heavy storm or after snow and ice has melted. Detecting water damage early is vital to prevent the spread of damage and the buildup of mold. Sinks, boilers, and water heaters should also be checked for leaks.
It’s crucial to properly check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors have an average lifespan of five years, while smoke detectors typically have ten. Still, due to the importance of these devices, they should be checked monthly. Filters in the air and heating systems should also be replaced at least twice a year to prevent malfunctions.
Insurance is a responsibility that both landlords and tenants may have. A landlord is responsible for maintaining the insurance on the rental property as a whole. Lenders will generally require proof of insurance before approving a loan for a rental property as well. Tenants are generally responsible for covering renter’s insurance for their own items, although some landlords may choose to require tenants to have renter’s insurance to avoid disputes.
Tenants are generally obligated to ensure the rental property stays clean and in good condition. Damages or other issues caused by a tenant’s actions are paid for by the tenant. Tenants may also become liable if they fail to alert the landlord to problems with the rental that result in preventable damages. Misuse of rooms, failure to remove trash, pet policy violations, and removing fixtures such as lights or appliances are all potential liabilities for the tenant.
Overall, landlords have far more responsibilities for rental properties than tenants, and it can be difficult to keep track of all of them. Landlord software, such as that provided by Turbo Tenant, can be incredibly useful. Such software allows you to keep track of potential tenants, advertise your property, communicate with current tenants, and store your records, all in one place. The life of a landlord is often stressful, but it can be more easily managed.
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