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Even if you're the landlord, it doesn't mean that you're the only one with responsibilities when it comes to keeping the rental property safe and livable. That is a shared commitment between you and your tenants. Some tasks are "commonsense" tasks while some need to be specified in the lease so that everybody is on the same page.
Let your tenants understand that they should stay on top of these tasks:
All light bulbs should be working when a rental is handed over to a tenant. If a light bulb needs replacing in the middle of a tenancy, generally, the tenant should have it changed. However, if a light bulb is difficult to reach and requires a special kind of fitting, the tenant should let you know about it so you can assist them.
Tenants should make an effort to dispose of their household waste given that you provided them with enough bins for their trash. Waste disposal services usually charge fees, and you can pass the fees on to your tenants and specify it in the lease.
Rental units are prone to moisture damage from mold growth, especially during the cold season. Landlords are generally responsible for dealing with mold if it was caused by a plumbing issue or roofing damage.
However, tenants are responsible for regular cleanings and keeping their unit well-ventilated. With that, teach them to ensure adequate ventilation by opening windows during mornings. You can also require tenants to clean surface mold as soon as they notice it. Most importantly, they should report leaks and damage.
While landlords are ultimately responsible for landscaping upkeep, you can require your tenants to perform basic tasks especially if they have exclusive use of the yard. Basic chores include pulling the weeds, watering the plants, and mowing and edging the lawn.
There are states that do not require landlords to compensate tenants for "reasonable care" as long as the state housing code does not specify that the tasks are your responsibility.
While landlords are not required to provide appliances in the rental unit, some do anyway to attract more tenants. If you choose to provide appliances, the last thing you want is finding out that they got damaged due to tenant negligence. With that, teach them how to properly use these appliances. If a tenant causes damage to an appliance, you can make a deduction from the security deposit to cover the repair.
Perhaps you've read our previous article How Do You Handle Dirty Tenants? that discusses the possibility of you coming across tenants who don't take the initiative to keep the rental unit clean. Situations like tenants failing to clean the rental usually arise because of a lack of a cleaning requirement in the lease. Communicate cleaning in the lease and be specific about it.
The bottom line is that tenants are still responsible for some maintenance tasks. Specifying these responsibilities in the lease and reminding your tenants about them will ensure that your rental stays in a great condition.
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