What maintenance is a tenant responsible for and what situations does a landlord need to handle? In general, tenants are responsible for mitigating problems that occurred because of their own negligence, whereas landlords are responsible for general wear-and-tear. Every situation is different, however, and tenants should check in with their landlord before completing any repairs to make sure they're doing them per their lease.
Carpet Stains and Floor Scratches
Landlords are responsible for "normal wear and tear," which is the wear on flooring that would happen out of ordinary use. Carpet and flooring can wear down over time, so mild discoloration in high traffic areas, such as hallways, can often be considered normal wear and tear.
But tenants are responsible for any stains or scratches that occur due to their own actions. Spilled bleach, tracked in mud, and damage due to pets are all considered to be beyond normal wear-and-tear and will be the responsibility of the tenant. However, the tenant should be aware that they only need to pay for a reasonable cleaning fee or the carpet's depreciated value.
Clogged drains and general plumbing maintenance is usually the tenant's responsibility, as clogs occur because the tenant has put something down the drains that they shouldn't have. With perfect usage, most drains should not clog.
The exception is if something has happened such as tree roots infiltrating the drain, causing multiple clogs; this will be the landlord's responsibility to sort out, and the landlord needs to be notified as soon as possible because it could eventually become a larger problem.
Pest Control Services
Most pest control is the sole responsibility of the tenant, as it is a tenant who will usually cause pest-related issues to be a concern. If pests become a problem, tenants may want to invest in a regular pest control service.
What happens if the roof is leaking, or some other emergency maintenance situation? This is complex because structural issues are the responsibility of the landlord. However, the tenant does have a "duty to mitigate," which means the tenant has to take action to minimize damage by contacting the landlord as soon as possible.
If a tenant doesn't contact their landlord, they could become responsible for further damage. For instance, a roof leak could eventually lead to the carpet being damaged and having to be replaced; this would be the tenant's responsibility because it wouldn't have happened if the landlord could have fixed the problem faster.
Furnace and HVAC issues are almost completely the responsibility of the landlord. However, tenants are responsible for maintaining the system, which includes changing the filters as needed and using them properly. Landlords should be aware that it is up to them to provide habitable heating and cooling to their tenants and to get these issues fixed quickly.
In general, tenants need to maintain the property but aren't held responsible due to malfunctions and maintenance issues due to age. To learn more about what maintenance repairs you’re responsible for or you need help managing your properties, contact us at Aria Properties today!