All Landlord’s are obligated to maintain rental property, this is known as” implied habitability”. When a landlord advertizes or offers a rental unit, he/she is stating that the property is in good, safe and sanitary condition and is suitable for inhabitants. Most States Laws govern how landlords keep up their rental properties, Violations of these laws can result in serious fines to a landlord. However, most landlords’ want and desire their properties to be the best that they can be. They want the rentals to be in safe, comfortable and sanitary conditions. Thus, they can insure themselves that they are protecting the value of the property and further insuring that the landlord will have happy, contented tenants who will stay in the rental for an extended period of time.
Taking care of rental property can be split into two categories: maintenance and repair. Real estate as in a rental property is a tangible thing. Tenants are going to live there and things are going to break. Tenant Privacy & Landlord Access Tenants are going to move in and out, tenants are going to have accidents in the rental, tenants will have co
mpany at times which may put a strain on the rental. Landlords have an ethical obligation to provide a safe and livable environment for the tenant but also as a business obligation to protect his/her own investment.
Landlords should set a maintenance schedule that keeps the property and the unit(s) in their property in the best shape possible. The s
chedule should include a weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly routine that covers all aspects of the rental.
- Weekly inspections of the property to determine if there are broken windows, rubbish not disposed of properly, checking out the common areas, such as a laundry room, having someone clean the laundry room, removing lint and coins from the machines, in the summer lawns may need to be mowed and trimmed, and in the winter, shoveling of sidewalks or snowplowing. A few quick phone calls would most likely remedy these problems.
- A monthly maintenance schedule would include checking the exterior of the building for signs of needed paint repairs, missing shingles on the roofs, leaks or damage around doors or windows. Things that you do not want to get out of hand. Make notes on these items and schedule your repairs accordingly.
A routine quarterly inspection may include inspection of the furnaces, plumbing or electric systems or gutters. Leaving things unfixed for periods of time can cause lots of other issues, for one, the property is not in good condition and begins to show it, good tenants will not be attracted to the rentals and good tenants that now occupy will look for reasons to vacate or not renew the lease. Keep the cost down and deal with maintenance as quickly as possible.
Make your own routine maintenance schedule as it will work for you. The important thing is that you have a schedule and a way to manage it.
A good time to inspect an individual rental unit or apartment might be once a year or whenever a tenant moves out, whichever comes first. Now is the time to check smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure there are fresh, ne
w batteries in these fixtures. Check appliances in the rental unit to see if they are operating properly, dishwashers and refrigerators not leaking. Check for loose items, such as doorknobs, light fixtures handrails or loose carpet.
Repairs need to be made:
s may request that certain repairs be done to the rental unit. An appliance failure that may need to be replaced, a leaky ba
throom fixture or broken pipes. Perhaps the tenant is requesting a repaint of the unit or maybe one room. It is a tenants’ r
esponsibility to notify the landlord of malfunctions that happen in and to the rental unit. A prudent landlord will t
ry to make serious repairs as quickly as possible. As the tenant, how do you handle this?
The first thing for you to do is to notify your landlord of any deficiencies or problems which may occur. This is a responsi
bility that you must take action on. In many cases, the landlord will not be aware of these problems. Make a simple phone call to let him know and follow up with a short note to the landlord, reminding him/her of the conversation.
Arrange a time for the landlord and/or his workers to come by and view the problem and set a plan for the repair. This should be done quickly as some repairs are more serious than others.
When the time is set for the repairs to be made, co-operate. Be available or have someone else available to house sit while the workers ar
e there. Never leave the rental unit empty and say, “just go ahead in”, you don’t know who will be in your rental, or even if the workers make it there at all. You do not want your rental open to just anyone who happens by the neighborhood.
Do not interfere with the workers. Be there to answer questions if needed, but do not ask for other services of the workers. Remember, they work for the landlord. If there are other issues that come up, he/she is the person to talk too.
A landlord may decide that certain repairs are not necessary, such as a repaint job. That is completely up to the landlord.
If the tenant continues to deny the landlord access to the rental for a continued length of time, in order to make repairs, the landlord may be forced to bring an action to evict the tenant.
The tenant may also take legal action if the landlord does not make necessary repairs. In some states a tenant may withhold some or all of the rent, until such repairs are made. A tenant may hire someone to do the repairs and deduct the cost fro
m the rent, a tenant may call the local code officer for assistance, or a tenant may simply move out and not honor the balance of the lease. Be careful what route you decide to take and make sure of your legal rights. Check with your city or state housing office.
Landlords enjoy the many advantages of taking good care of their property. Not only do they receive a steady income with a net profit, they also receive a capital appreciation on their investment. Deductions for repairs and improvements on rental properties can reduce income tax on the profits.
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