The owner and landlord of any real estate property in all states have certain responsibilities by law to their tenants and also have responsibilities to their property. LandLordStation.com wants to let you know that, in addition to the lawful landlords responsibilities, there are things that can be done to protect property from damage and you, the landlord, from liability. The expense of property maintenance is minimal in comparison to a lawsuit or criminal negligence charges. The rental amount charged should have an amount figured into the rent that is sufficient to cover maintenance.
The landlord always has a duty to protect, insofar as possible, the safety of the tenant. The landlords' responsibilities include fitting exterior doors that have, at the very least, a deadbolt lock. Prior to a new tenant taking possession of the premises, the locks should always be changed so that no one else has a key to the property. If you are giving keys to realtors or prospective tenants to view the property, be sure to use a generic lock and replace the lock after the property is leased.
In most jurisdictions, the landlord responsibility and obligation is to keep the property reasonably maintained and in a safe condition. All appliances, including central heating units, water heaters, any gas appliances and air conditioners should be properly installed and maintained. Vents should be properly maintained, clean and in working order. Wiring is essential to maintain in a safe condition as well. An inspection by the landlord prior to leasing is a good idea so that you have a record of the property condition prior to the occupancy of the tenant. As a landlord, respond quickly to any tenant complaints and arrange for repairs as soon as possible. Severe issues should be dealt with immediately to fully discharge your landlord responsibility.
In some states and some cities, the yard and common areas must be maintained by the landlord, especially if the dwelling contains four or more rental units. Less than four units can be maintained by the tenant and the provisions for that maintenance should be specifically set out in the lease. If it is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain the grounds, maintenance should be performed by a responsible party. Trash should regularly be removed from the area. If you have a dumpster on the property, empty it regularly. Make sure any outdoor areas are well lit and free from hazards, including broken steps and loose handrails.
In the event the tenant has a problem with rodents, roaches, bedbugs or other pests, you will want to address the problem as soon as possible. Some states and some cities require that only a licensed professional apply pesticides or insecticides. To do so without a license, in some jurisdictions is against the law. Always verify the license of any exterminator you hire.
Ascertain that any workmen or repairmen hired are bonded and insured as part of your continuing landlords responsibilities. In the event that repairs or maintenance has to be performed inside the rental property, it is recommended that the landlord or landlord’s representative be present when any work is being performed. Allowing unsupervised repairmen inside a tenant’s dwelling could lead to claims of robbery.
Working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers installed in each dwelling are generally required by law and usually make the cost of your property insurance less. In some jurisdictions, the insurance savings is significant. Each jurisdiction and each insurance company has minimum requirements for maintaining real estate rental property. Prior to the tenant taking possession and after the property prep and cleaning, we recommend that you take photos of the condition of the property and date them. Then you will have a record if the tenant causes any damage. This will be useful in the event there is a fire or vandalism. You can store the photos at LandLordStation.com in your property vault.
These are the basic landlord responsibilities. As you can see, tenant safety and property maintenance can be a costly proposition. Have the best experience possible with rental real estate by carefully screening your tenants with the tools offered at LandLordStation.com. It pays to select a responsible tenant that will not damage your property.
LandLordStation.com recommends that, if you have any doubts about the provisions of the landlord tenant law as it pertains to your property, in your state, that you consult an attorney. LandLordStation.com gives you general information pertaining to the rental industry but does not offer legal advice and opinions. We believe that you will have the best possible results when you screen your prospective tenants with LandLordStation.com and have the greatest possible understanding of your legal rights and responsibilities. Please reach out to any of our knowledgeable representatives online if you have any questions.
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