As a landlord, you have a responsibility to maintain a safe, clean and habitable property that your tenant can live in. But this is not a one-sided coin. Your tenant also has a role to play in keeping your property in tip-top-shape.
It is important to be fully aware of the laws and regulations regarding maintenance in your state, but to get you started, we have a non-exhaustive list of the 4 top issues your tenants are responsible for.
Related: The Smart Landlords Pet Policy
Rubbish attracts pests; pests attract bacteria. Avoid this vicious cycle by making sure your tenants abide by their obligation to keep your property clean and sanitary.
This means taking out the trash, whatever waste disposal service is available to them. Advise your tenants of whether there is a rubbish collection service available to them or if they have to go to the rubbish dump themselves. Be clear from the outset that your tenants have a responsibility to dispose of waste before it attracts pests.
No one likes unwanted guests - let alone when they come in the form of mice and cockroaches!
Make sure that before your tenant moves in, there are no sneaky pests hiding beneath the floorboards. This includes addressing any structural issues that may allow rodents and bugs to enter your property.
Once your tenant has moved in, they assume the responsibility to keep the place pest free. The best way to do this? By following the best hygienic practices and keeping the property clean and tidy.
If you do find your property has a pest infestation due to unacceptable hygiene practices kept by the tenant, do know that the tenants could be financially liable for the cost of pest eradication.
Now, whether your tenant is responsible for maintaining your property’s landscape will depend on the clauses of your lease. If you can’t be bothered with mowing lawns and trimming hedges, it can be a good idea to assign this responsibility to your tenant - just make sure they are aware of this.
Yard maintenance includes ensuring the property is safe, by removing obstacles such as fallen trees and keeping the property up to city or council standards.
In the winter time, this may include the removal of snow and should be done in a timely fashion (some municipalities will impose a fine for failure to do so). Again, specify this in the lease - otherwise, you may find yourself shoveling snow off your tenant's driveway…
This has to be one of the most common issues with rentals, especially, in cold, damp places that don't see the sun.
Mold arises from moisture, so if your property has dampness issues, it pays to thoroughly check for mold.
If a building leak or faulty plumbing is causing mold to grow, it will likely be your responsibility to fix it.
However, if the mold is caused by the tenant drying wet clothes inside or having poor hygiene, it may be the tenant’s responsibility to clean mold away.