Real Estate Reinvented

Category Archives: Property Management

Who is Responsible, Landlord or Tenant?

Properly maintaining is an important part of rental property ownership. Not just because it is the property owner’s responsibility, it reduces owner liability, and helps to maintain the value of the investment. However, there are times when the tenant could be responsible and that can be a difficult situation for the property owner to address with the tenant.

Habitability is Essential

Even if the landlord and tenant sign an agreement in writing that the tenant is responsible for all maintenance, no owner can hold a tenant responsible for all repairs. This evolved from the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA), which established that landlords must provide “habitability” for all tenants. Using this as a basis, the courts have passed down many judgments against owners who have tried to use a written rental agreement to avid their responsibility.
This act, however, does not mean that a tenant cannot be responsible for any damage. Property owners must prove the tenant caused the damage prior to charging them for the repair. In addition, it is a mistake for an owner to withhold a repair until the tenant pays, particularly when it affects habitability. Make the repair in a timely manner, then charge the tenant, seeking legal methods, if necessary, to be reimbursed.

What is a Reasonable Tenant Repair

There is maintenance that landlords can require of residents, such as replacing light bulbs, keeping the residence clean, changing the smoke detector alarm battery, cleaning the trash receptacle, picking up debris, landscape care as agreed, etc. This falls under “reasonable care of the property”, and is contained in the rental agreement. It is the tenant’s residence and while living there, they should maintain it in a clean and orderly manner.
If the property does have a washer, dryer, and refrigerator in a single family residence, there can be an option to require the tenant to maintain the units if they wish to use them but that they will not repair or replace them. This does need to have clear cut terms because this can often lead to a strained landlord/tenant relationship. In most cases, this is an owner responsibility to maintain the appliances, and the tenant to use them with reasonable care.

When is a Repair the Tenants Responsibility?

Simply put, the tenant is responsible for a repair if they were the direct cause of the repair. It can also be the tenant’s responsibility if they do not report a necessary repair that leads to unnecessary damage, such as continual leaking under a kitchen sink. This is why property owners should encourage tenants to report maintenance. Many times, when residents do not report problems, it becomes a battle to determine what the owner should pay and what the resident should reimburse to the owner because the initial problem was the owner’s but the tenant contributed to the damage.

Educate and Work with the Tenant

Preventative maintenance is always the simplest route. Educating tenants is a key to avoiding unnecessary maintenance and charges to the tenants. As your Property Manager, we outline what is their responsibility and what is not, require them to report maintenance, and define what is “reasonable care of the property”. If a tenant caused repair occurs, we act first, resolving the problem to protect the investment. Then we determine and document the problem. Last of all, we work with the tenant to achieve a peaceful resolution and reimbursement to the Owner if it has been a true tenant cause repair.

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Tips For Good Landlord Tenant Relations

Many believe that once a tenant moves into a property all that is required is to “collect the rents”.  As a property manager I often hear this but know it is far from reality. Tenancy starts before the tenant moves in, progresses while the tenant resides in the property, and continues after the tenant moves… Continue Reading

The Topic of Mold

Mold has been around for a long time. Literally as long as there have been living organisms. Therefore, it may seem strange that it has become such an important and potentially dangerous issue. However, mention the possibility of the existence of mold to any reputable Property Manager, it gains immediate and urgent attention. What constitutes… Continue Reading

Rental Properties and Lead Based Paint

Lead based paint has been an important issue since March 6th, 1996, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) & Housing & Urban Development (HUD) released regulations on the Residential Lead Based Paint Hazard Control Act. Property Managers and Landlords nationwide have worked to comply with the law. Additionally, the Lead-Based Paint Pre-Renovation Education Rule was… Continue Reading

Pets and Your Property: Deciding on Pets

Most Landlords are not open to the idea of renting to tenants with pets. To be honest, this is understandable because I have seen situations where tenants have allowed their pets to cause considerable damage. When faced with the issue of pets, property managers and/or landlords need to use a logical approach. Saying “NO” to… Continue Reading

Landlords DO Have Rights

It often seems that a property owner does not have any rights and that tenants call the shots, the courts only rule in favor of the tenant, and the attorneys end up with all the money. Just look at the multi million dollar lawsuits that have happened regarding mold, lead-based paint, Fair Housing, and more.… Continue Reading

Are you a knowledgeable Landlord Understanding Landlord/Tenant Law

How would you rate your knowledge as a landlord. Being a landlord is more than just collecting rents. Understanding landlord/tenant law is the best protection for a landlord other than hiring a professional property manager. Test your knowledge of landlord/tenant law by answering these questions then look at the answers below to see how you… Continue Reading

Adding an Investment Property to Your Portfolio

With today’s rising rents, lower interest rates and property values, buying an investment property may be a good addition to your financial portfolio. Before you make the decision to purchase you should consider the following: Check with your CPA or financial planner: Current tax laws favor investors. Depreciation and principal reduction can build wealth over… Continue Reading

A Credit Report is Not Enough

Many people think tenant screening means only obtaining a current credit report. Credit information is important and in today’s rental market, they contain more details than ever before. There are continual changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FCRA, because landlords, employers, and businesses consider credit ratings a valuable resource. Then why is a credit… Continue Reading