28 Jan Rental Repairs
Rental repairs and maintenance are a part of managing a rental. And, no matter how thorough and consistent you are with preventative maintenance, problems at the property will still develop. From a cabinet door that falls off its hinges to pest problems, as a landlord you have a responsibility for keeping the property in a habitable condition. So, when things go wrong and rental repairs are needed, the question is who needs to fix it? While it is your responsibility to maintain the plumbing, heating, fix appliances, and keep it structurally sound. Don’t forget, your tenant has responsibilities too! For this reason, it is imperative your lease agreement clearly sets out responsibilities for repairs and maintenance. With this in mind, we offer some insight on things you should consider.
The information in this article is not a substitute for legal advice.
Rental Repairs: Tenant Responsibilities
Tenants have specific responsibilities under landlord tenant law to maintain the rental property. These typically include ensuring the rental property stays clean and in good repair. They are also responsible for letting you know about major issues like mold for example. While every lease agreement is different your best defense against disagreements and other problems (especially security deposit disputes) is to clearly set out responsibilities for repairs and maintenance in your lease agreement. Responsibilities that typically fall to the tenant include maintaining the rental property, preventing damage, and report issues as they come up.
Maintaining The Rental Property
Tenants are required by law to take reasonable care of their rental. This includes common areas such as hallways and outside areas. Maintaining the rental property include (please make sure to check with local laws and consult an attorney if needed):
- Keep the premises clean and sanitary
- Dispose of trash and garbage in a clean and sanitary manner
- Maintain appliances
- Prevent mold
- Keep excessive dirt from building up on walls and floors
- Make sure rust, soap buildup or grime is prevented
Rental Repairs: Tenant Must Prevent Excessive Damage
Not only should your tenants keep their rental units clean, they also need to do their best to avoid damage caused by recklessness or negligence. Although landlords are ultimately responsible for ensuring their rental units are habitable, California law makes tenants responsible for certain kinds of repairs. Tenants are required to repair all damage they cause, or damage caused by anyone for whom they are responsible, such as family, guests, or pets.
Rental Repairs: Tenant Must Report Issues As they Come Up
One of the most important things your tenants can do for you, is reporting issues as they arise. In fact, if a tenant notices an issue and fails to report it to you, they may be liable for additional damage that would not have occurred otherwise. From leaky plumbing to broken dish washers, water damage can quickly diminish the value of your rental properties. The consequences of water damage are varied. From mold growth to foundation damage, in addition to compromising the structural integrity of your rental property. It also poses some serious health risks to your tenants. With tenant eduction, documenting responsibilities in your lease, careful maintenance, and a cycle of inspections, you can reduce your risk and ensure the happiness of your tenants.
A well-crafted lease agreement sets a landlord up for success. A good lease agreement protects your interests and prevents misunderstandings that could potentially lead to litigation. For this reason, it is important to be as specific as possible when defining the rental terms. And, it is imperative your lease agreement clearly sets out responsibilities for repairs and maintenance. If you are struggling to keep up with regular maintenance tasks, rental repairs, or need help with your lease agreements, you may want to consider hiring a property management company.
At Rancho Mesa Properties, we believe that quick, reliable, and cost-effective property maintenance is key in upholding the integrity of a rental property and ultimately helps cultivate a healthy, happy relationship between tenant, property, and owner. We manage all types of residential rental properties including homes, condos, and multifamily properties such as duplex and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. Let us manage your rental properties, so you can enjoy life! Contact us today at (858) 576-2176 to learn more about our property management services.