“Maintenance And Repair Responsibilities For Rent Apartment Businesses” written by Mike Marko
What happens if you fail to keep up with your rental apartment maintenance and repair responsibilities?
They can compound into big problems.
Every rental agreement contains clauses regarding the responsibilities of both parties. These responsibilities usually divided equally between the tenant and landlord, are mainly focused on repairing the damages that happened to the rent apartment.
Giving responsibilities to both parties is necessary in order to ensure that the property is kept in good condition.
This article will discuss other reasons why rent apartment upkeep responsibilities are crucial for your rental property business.
Upkeep Responsibilities For Rent Apartment Properties
As a property manager developing your business and adding rental units is key to the success and profitability of your business. Many property managers deal specifically with rental apartments or a majority of their rental business is managing rental apartments. With the apartments being the biggest asset in any rental property businesses, it is important to pay close attention to the condition that those apartments are being kept. This means you should always be aware of any damages that may occur at your properties, no matter how small or minor they may seem to be.
Consistent upkeep and maintenance to the rental apartment would benefit not just the property manager but also the tenants. However, failing to adhere to or follow up and fix damages as they occur to your rental apartments could result in certain unfavorable consequences.
To understand more about the responsibilities needed to keep your apartment rentals in the best condition you should first gain an understanding of the maintenance duties of landlords and property managers.
What are Landlord’s Maintenance Duties
When negotiating and signing a rental contract, the terms and conditions of the rental will detail the landlord’s maintenance duties for the apartment they are renting to the tenant. A landlord is normally held responsible for repairing the rental property when damages occur at the property. Keeping the rental property in a habitable and safe condition for tenants is part of that responsibility spelled out in the lease contract.
Often the rental contract will detail that it is only necessary for landlords and property managers to attend to the property’s repair issues when those needs arise during the rental. Anything related to “fair wear and tear” that can occur during the rental of the property must be checked and determined if the landlord or tenant is responsible to fix or upgrade.
According to the Rental Housing Act, every property manager and landlord is responsible for the following:
- The condition of the property at the onset of a lease must be fit for the purpose for which it is let.
- The landlord must ensure that the property is following all health, safety, and local law regulations.
- Non-emergency repairs to the property must be done within 30 days after the date it was reported. However, both parties may also reach an agreement to do the repairs at a specific time span.
- Emergency repairs are dealt with swiftly.
- All landlords must keep a consistent communication with the tenant. Complaints and requests must be attended immediately.
Importance of the Upkeep of Apartment Units
Having a constant upkeep of the rent apartment units will ensure the satisfaction of current occupants. At the same time, routinely doing maintenance and repair responsibilities can also attract potential tenants for your available apartments.
Below are other reasons why upkeep of a rental apartment’s important.
To Prevent Major Issues from Occurring
Doing repairs immediately benefits everyone living or occupying the property. Routine maintenance will avoid big repairs that are often caused by unrepaired minor issues. It will also lessen the costs of replacement of things in the unit, and prevent the worsening of issues that are not addressed in a timely manner.
If you immediately attend to minor damages or normal wear and tear, it will help you save money in the long-run and ensures that the profitability of the apartment is maximized.
To have the Best Tenants and Keep Them
When running a rental property management company you look to find tenants that will pay rents on time, do not cause problems or damages, and are considered good tenants. To keep these tenants happy and rent for long periods of time it is best to provide a property that’s free from possible hassles and minor damages. Providing a clean and safe rental apartment will decrease the number of tenants leaving and moving out and will increase rental returns.
Keeping the property in good condition will satisfy your tenants, make them want to stay longer in rental units, and motivate them to take care of their rented space.
To Increase the Property’s Value
When managing a rental property, consistent upkeep and upgrades will improve the value of the property in the rental market. At the same time, these upgrades and upkeep attract tenants who are willing to pay higher rent prices.
And in case the owner decides to sell the apartment, higher rents, and property without major repairs will net a higher value in a sale.
Tenant Maintenance Duties: Maintain and Report
In a lease agreement, the responsibilities and duties for upkeep and repairs are not solely given to the landlord. Some of the responsibilities are handed out to the tenants.
The responsibilities given to tenants, allow tenants to feel that they have a say in any work that will be done on the property.
Common Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities
Normally, tenants are responsible for ensuring their property stays sanitary, clean and in good repair. A landlord or a property manager is not liable to take action on damages caused by the tenant’s carelessness. Rather, it is the tenant’s complete responsibility to cover the costs associated with normal wear and tear while they are occupying the property.
Other responsibilities of a tenant that are normally detailed in the terms of the lease contract include the regular maintenance of appliances, light fixtures or carpets. Often tenants are also required to maintain the common areas to help preserve property value and aesthetics.
Tenant’s Duty to Report Maintenance Issues
Having good communication and relationships with your tenants allows you to easily understand any needs or repairs that can arise during the rental of the apartment. If the tenant fails to report the damages to their rented property, then they may be held liable for additional damage that could’ve been prevented if they made a timely complaint.
Here following scenarios that the tenant may become liable:
- Failure to discard trash.
- Removal of fixtures, including lights, appliances or permanent decorative items.
- Damage occurring as a result of pet policy violations.
- Damage caused by fires as a result of negligence or reckless conduct.
- Misuse of designated rooms.
- Use of the premises for unlawful purposes.
Landlord’s Obligation to Respond to Maintenance Issues
As part of the rental agreement, the landlord is required to respond to maintenance issues. Immediately attending to the needs and complaints of tenants allow them to feel like their needs and complaints are being acted on when needed.
Responding to Major Urgent Issues
The landlord or the property manager is normally required to attend or respond within 24 hours of any major complaint or damage that could occur at the property. Normally this could be a flooded apartment, a fire, or some other damage that is not considered wear and tear. If the landlord or property manager failed to respond in a timely manner, it could result in situations where they would be required to cover the cost of an alternative temporary shelter – particularly if concerns aren’t dealt with in a timely fashion.
Examples of the urgent issues that would affect the habitability of the property are:
- Heating or air conditioning,
- Indoor plumbing, electricity,
- Major security concerns,
- Pest infestation, or
- Any other issue that renders the unit unlivable.
Procedure for Minor Issues
Property managers should encourage tenants to contact them the minute a problem arises. When this happens, make sure to respond within 24 hours with a schedule to fix the issue. However, response times may also vary according to local regulations or the terms of the lease agreement.
If the landlord responds a little later than the agreed time, the excuse must be reasonable and not unduly burdensome on the tenant.
Notice Given to Tenants Before Landlord’s Conduct Maintenance Duties
Often times when conducting maintenance and repairs the landlord or property manager needs to enter the tenant’s property to complete these repairs. A landlord or property manager is required to give notice before proceeding with property inspections. Most states require a landlord to give a notice 24 or 48 hours before the actual day of entry. A notice is necessary to avoid violating the laws for an invasion of privacy.
Keep in mind that a landlord can only enter a rented unit without notice if there’s an emergency. If there’s a clause in your lease agreement regarding the right to enter the property, those terms you and your tenant both agreed on should be followed.
Landlord’s Failure to Make Required Repairs
Nobody wants to turn their rental property into an unlivable or inhabitable place. Don’t become a slumlord or someone who doesn’t care about their tenant’s needs or habitability, as this could result in legal action or withholding of rent.
Here are the consequences of failing to respond to required repairs.
Depending on State Laws
Some states allow the tenant to withhold all rent until the repair is made adequately and pay less rent until the problem is fixed. A tenant could also sue the property manager or landlord for discomfort, annoyance, and emotional stress caused by the unrepaired damages of the rented property.
The lease contract and rental laws will spell out responsibilities and penalties that could be enforceable if legal action is taken.
Failure to Repair in a Timely Manner
If the landlord ignores the request for a repair, a tenant had an option to hire an outside party to take care of the necessary repairs to the rented property. To avoid any miscommunications the tenant should document in writing the repairs needed and detail the way they will need to resolve these issues. Doing this will allow the tenant to be reimbursed for repairs or withholding rents to cover these costs. However, the tenant should be reasonable in choosing a party to make the necessary repairs. The cost of this will then be deducted from their next rent check to the landlord.
The tenant could also contact the local authorities regarding the issue. If inspectors come out and find the problem, the landlord could face numerous possible fines and/or penalties.
To avoid having to pay high amounts for repairs or face possible fines for repairs not made it is best to know and keep on top of all repairs needed at the apartments you are managing.
Tenant’s Right to Live in a Habitable Structure
Providing a habitable and safe living structure is your main responsibility as a property manager to the tenants you are renting your properties to. Not staying on top of repair issues could cause the rental to become uninhabitable. If the problem has worsened and already violates the tenant’s right to live in a habitable structure, the tenant may choose to simply move out of the rental unit and end the lease agreement.
Once the tenant chooses to end the tenancy, there’s a big possibility that a constructive eviction lawsuit will be filed against the landlord or the property manager. The tenant could win this lawsuit if the tenant’s ability to show two things:
- If they can prove that the uninhabitable conditions of the rent apartment were a result of the landlord’s lack of action to fix the problems.
- If the tenant left the rental property in a reasonable time.
Final Thoughts on Repair and Maintenance Duties on Rent Apartment Businesses
This blog post discusses the rent and repair maintenance duties for the rent apartment business.
Maintenance and repair responsibilities in a rent apartment business lie within the hands of the property manager or landlord and the tenants.
Each of the tasks and duties is divided equally for both parties under the lease or rental agreement that they signed. Attending to tenants’ requests for repair and maintenance even if it’s just a minor issue is necessary. Doing so will prevent you from spending too much on repairing major damages.
Consistent upkeep and maintenance can also increase the value of your rental apartment.
However, failing to respond to the tenant’s requests for repairs and maintenance could result in major consequences.
When such an incident occurs, the tenant has the right to choose to withhold all rent or end the tenancy, if the issue heavily affects their lives. This will then result in a big impact on the business’ revenue.
If you have further questions regarding responsibilities on a rental apartment, you can leave them below.
1. 10 Ways To Look For Commercial Tenants Who Could Rent Office
2. How Property Managers Should Understand The Renter’s Credit
3. An Essential Guide About The Home Rental Agreement
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