If you want to learn about the construction process and the steps that are taken to complete a project, you should read my blog. My name is Darren White and I've always been fascinated by the way that a construction crew can erect a building so fast. I work in an industrial park and there's always new buildings being built and I see the progress every day. A few months ago, I was at a neighborhood picnic and I started talking to a neighbor that lived down the street. It just so happened that he was a contractor that worked on the buildings in the industrial park. I asked him how the construction crew could build a huge building so quickly and he explained the whole process to me. That's when I had the idea to write a blog to explain the building process to others who are also interested.
Failure to maintain rental property is an issue that plagues many communities. Tenants often blame the landlords, while property owners dispute that the damage is their responsibility. When it is the tenants themselves causing the damage in the units they live in, the owner may feel the solution is for the tenant to make them repairs. Of course, before an issue gets to where it needs to be resolved in the courtroom, it is a good idea to know whose side the law will be on.
Understanding the Livability Issue
Property owners are required to perform any repairs on damage that make the home or apartment unsafe. These may include the refusal to repair a heating system, the lack of emergency exits or any structural issues. Maintenance items that are only about discomfort, like a leaky sink, are not legally mandated repairs. Who caused the issue is a separate problem, and it will be the responsibility of the property owner to collect the cost of the repairs later from the individual responsible. However, if people are still living in the building, the repair must be done to protect their safety. If the repair was needed to items that were just worn out from age and normal use, it is the owner who should pay the bill.
Repairing Existing Appliances
Appliances that are included with an apartment are often considered, at least by many tenants, to be entirely the responsibility of the owner to maintain. However, this depends on how they are worded in the rental contract. If not included at all, the law could go either way if a tenant repairs or replaces a non-working appliance. For landlords, it is important to state how they want it handled. For example, general maintenance like replacing lightbulbs or paying for a drain hose on a washer may be left to the tenant to handle, while larger repairs or replacements be performed by the owner. Many property management companies keep repair personnel on duty to make all repairs and judgement calls about when they need to be replaced, just to avoid any disagreements.
Cosmetic Repairs and Damages
Regular wear and tear are the problem of the property owner. It should be expected that flooring will eventually wear out, walls will get scuffed and door knobs will become loose and need to be replaced. Excessive damage, whether from the tenant or one of their guests, should be billed to the tenant. Holes in walls, a broken window or water damage caused by overflowing a sink or tub should also be paid for by the tenant. Proving these damages were caused during their use is often the most difficult part and is why photos should be taken and inspection forms completed noting any existing damage before a new tenant moves in. By having them sign the inspection form, they will be stating whether or not the damage that is now apparent was there when they arrived.
Controlling Pest Infestation
Pests, whether they are rodents, insects or raccoons in the attic, are usually included under the livability issue because of the diseases they can cause. Treating the problem, by hiring a professional exterminator, is a necessity that landlords must do to protect their own property, as well as their tenants. However, it is possible that the cost may still become the responsibility of the tenant. Hoarders often have issues with cockroaches and rodents, someone feeding wild animals may encourage problems with skunks and raccoons, and failure to provide preventative treatments to pets could be the reason for a flea infestation. Of course, documentation from either the exterminator or neighboring tenants will be needed to prove whose actions led to the infestation.
So much of what can be recovered from tenants will rely on the contract they sign when they initially move in. It is important that every landlord have a detailed contract, or work with a property management company that supplies one. It should spell out exactly what is expected from the tenant and what the owners will cover. This type of protection is often the only way the owner can bill the tenant or retain the security deposit legally.
For more information, contact Advanced Property Management or a similar company.Share