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Properly maintaining a safe, habitable, and enjoyable rental home is a shared responsibility between tenants and their landlords. Property managers in Santa Cruz do a good job of facilitating the things that need to be done while maintaining a home. Today, we want to look at the items that fall into your tenant’s pool of responsibilities. When something needs to be fixed, how should you handle it if it’s your tenant’s responsibility?

Your lease should include a list of anything you expect your tenant to do, such as change the air filters or replace light bulbs that have burned out. More extensive repairs should not be undertaken by your tenants. Unless the tenants are professional contractors, it’s not a good idea to have them fix things that are broken. It can lead to a lot of problems and further expenses.

Avoiding Liability with Maintenance

When work needs to be done, you should only use licensed vendors and contractors. This will help you avoid the liability that can come with allowing your tenant to make his or her own repairs. If a tenant gets hurt while trying to fix a roof or clean the gutters, you could find yourself in a lot of expensive trouble. Make sure your tenants with no maintenance experience know to avoid complex repairs for liability reasons. You want the repairs to be done correctly so your investment is protected.

Damages Caused by Tenants

If your tenant or your tenant’s guests damage something, it’s their financial responsibility to fix it. Broken windows and doors, for example, must be fixed by the tenant. If there’s a clogged garbage disposal, the tenant can fix it. Anything that is damaged due to abuse, misuse, or neglect that goes beyond normal wear and tear is the responsibility of a tenant.

When your maintenance vendors come to make a repair, you might be the party responsible for paying the bill. However, when it’s discovered that the damage was caused by the tenant, make sure you hold those tenants responsible for the cost. Maybe there was a leak that your tenant didn’t report for six months or more. That leak will lead to further damage that can really add up. If your tenant had reported the leak as soon as it was noticed, the repair might have been under $100. But, a long term leak will have a higher price tag. This will be the tenant’s responsibility because of his or her failure to report the repair need.

Communicating with the Tenant

Communicating with the TenantCommunication about maintenance and responsibilities is critical. When the tenant is responsible to fix something, find out if the renter’s insurance will cover it. Renter’s insurance policies are inexpensive and can provide a lot of protection. It’s a good place to start when tenant-caused damage is evident and needs to be repaired.

If you have any questions about what the tenants should be responsible for when it comes to repairs and maintenance, we’d be happy to help you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Portola Property Management.