Legal and Optional Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

Legal and Optional Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

It's no secret that landlords are held to a certain standard when it comes to rental property maintenance. They must keep a rental property safe and comfortable, but they cannot do so without the help of the tenants.

Landlords are allowed to delegate certain maintenance tasks to tenants, but what are they?

Keep reading to learn about legal and optional tenant maintenance responsibilities.

Legal Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

Tenants are aware that landlords have to keep up with property standards, but they themselves have to keep up with certain maintenance responsibilities as well.

Legal tenant maintenance responsibilities vary by state. In general, they include the following tasks:

Avoiding Sanitary Hazards

Tenant responsibilities include keeping units free of sanitary hazards. They are required to properly dispose of their garbage and not let trash pile up in the unit.

Excessive trash can cause health issues that can lead to pest infestations and breathing problems. The tenant should keep the unit reasonably clean and sanitary.

Following Building and Housing Codes

Tenants also have an obligation to follow housing laws and building codes. For example, if a tenant signs a lease with two people, they cannot sneak an additional person on the property to live there.

Not following these codes can lead to fire and safety hazards. It also creates more wear and tear on the property. Tenants will increase utility bills which can become a problem for landlords if they are the ones paying for the utilities.

Being Respectful of the Property

Tenants must treat the property with care which should be stated in their lease agreement. They should maintain a reasonable level of cleanliness and avoid abuse or negligence.

Tenants must keep all plumbing fixtures reasonably clean and use them only for their intended purpose. If you supply appliances to your tenants, they have to keep these in a reasonably clean condition as well.

Normal wear and tear is common for rental properties but tenants must avoid extensive damages.

Optional Tenant Maintenance Opportunities

Tenants responsible for maintenance tasks have to do with the above legal responsibilities. However, there are optional tenant maintenance opportunities that you and your tenants can agree upon.

For example, you can offer an agreement that states the tenant performs certain maintenance tasks in exchange for reduced rent. The amount you reduce the rent by is something that you and the tenant must agree on.

Some landlords negotiate terms for tenants to perform seasonal tasks which may include the following:

  • Cutting grass
  • Putting down salt for ice
  • Cleaning the gutters
  • Shoveling snow
  • Raking leaves/picking up branches

Tenants can even be responsible for their own repairs instead of putting in a maintenance request if you feel comfortable enough with their skills. Use owner resources to help you with project tasks.

Creating a Tenant Agreement

Legal and optional tenant maintenance responsibilities should be outlined in the tenant agreement.

When you create a leasing agreement, it's important to consider your protection as a landlord. By knowing what is legal and what is optional, you can hold your tenants to a certain standard regarding maintenance.

Our property management team can help you stay compliant through rental agreements. Contact us now to learn about our services.