Rental Property Maintenance Myth #2: Tenants are Responsible for Maintenance & Repairs
Except in certain cases such as battery and light bulb replacement, maintenance and repairs are the physical and financial responsibility of the landlord. Yes, if the tenant throws a baseball through a window, they are responsible. But even then, the landlord should be notified and handle the repair, working with the tenant for the funds, or deducting from a security deposit. But when an appliance breaks down during the tenant’s stay, it’s typically the result of years of normal wear-and-tear, in which case the landlord is responsible for the repair or replacement.
Even preventative and regular maintenance tasks that traditionally are left to residents may be better handled by the landlord or property manager. For example, just because your tenants are certainly capable of regularly replacing smoke detector batteries and furnace filters does not mean they will remember to do so. If you are not replacing these items during a regularly scheduled inspection, providing new batteries and filters at regular intervals will encourage your residents to do so.
Also, do not forget the outside. Trees grow, gutters accumulate debris, faucets and sprinkler systems leak, and bees build hives. Keep an eye out for small problems inside and out to nip in the bud now, as well as identify potential future problems to either prevent or plan for.