Being a rental property manager/landlord may seem like it might be a piece of cake. Find some renters and collect a rent check every month. However, when your tenants tells you something needs to be repaired, it can be stressful. Find out what repairs you are generally responsible for by reading this guide.
As a property manager/landlord, it’s important to understand the maintenance you are required to provide. Much of the reason people choose to rent is the ease of not having to deal with their own repairs.
But the rules can seem a bit confusing sometimes.
Here’s a guide to the repairs you are responsible for as a rental property manager.
Outline Your Expectations
It might seem obvious to you, but some renters just don’t understand what their responsibilities are when it comes to maintaining your property.
Go over your expectations with them when they sign the lease and hand out a paper outlining these expectations in your welcome package.
Make sure the responsibilities are outlined in your rental agreement. This ensures that they understand what they are contractually obligated to do in regards to maintaining the property. This can help give you leverage in court if your tenants refuse to pay for repairs.
Tenant vs. Rental Property Manager
For the most part, lease agreements and Washington State Landlord Tenant laws follow the idea that if the damage done to a property is tenant caused, the tenant has to pay for them.
Tenants aren’t responsible for things like leaky roofs or cracked foundations. They are, however, required to let the rental property manager know when an issue arises to prevent further damage.
This is possibly one of the most important issues to talk about with your future tenants. You can’t require a tenant keep a spotless home, but you can put restrictions on waste management.
This makes it necessary for them to dispose of any trash that could lead to an infestation of pests.
Plumbing, heating, and AC
Any system that came with the house is the rental property manager’s responsibility to maintain and fix.
However, it is the tenant’s responsibility to use the fixtures properly and report any issues to prevent further damage. If the owner is called to fix an issue that is later shown to be caused by negligence, like a flushed diaper, the tenant is responsible.
You may include in your lease agreement that it is the tenant’s responsibility to replace air filters and keep pipes clear.
Alarms and Detectors
The property manager is required to provide and maintain any safety features and replace them as needed. However, the tenant is required to replace batteries and test the systems to make sure they are working properly.
Management of Toxins
It is the federal law that a property manager needs to let the tenant know of any lead paint dust, asbestos, and mold in the rental property. The property manager must also manage the toxins to make sure they aren’t a health danger.
The lease can make sure the tenants use ventilation systems the right way, and if the mold is found during their stay on your property, they could be required to clean it.
If the rental lease includes appliances, the landlord has to keep them in working order. However, if a tenant causes the damage to the appliance, the landlord can ask for the repair money or take the repair cost out of their security deposit.
While it is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the property clean, it is usually the rental property manager’s job to handle pest control.
If the tenant doesn’t keep a clean home, the landlord might be able to deduct the amount paid for extermination from their security deposit, if it’s specifically allowed in the lease.
This is one area that is almost entirely dependent on the lease agreement.
Landscaping becomes a rental property manager’s responsibility if it becomes a violation of laws or association rules. But, if the landscaping maintenance was put in the lease agreement, the rental property manager can pass the fine onto the tenant.
The rental property manager has to make sure all common areas are clean and safe. They must also provide trash bins and arrange for pickup. Elevator and common use systems are also a property manager’s job.
Tenants still have to follow the rules. They have to clean up after themselves and use things appropriately.
Rental Property Manager Responsibilities
For the most part, if a tenant causes damage to a property, it’s their responsibility to clean up. As a general rule, though, it’s a good idea to include specifics in your rental agreement to avoid any confusion.
If you’re looking to rent out your property but aren’t sure if you want to take on that responsibility yourself, contact us today. We offer end-to-end property management for one low flat rate!
Note: This is not meant to be an exhaustive rental property management guide. Landlord responsibilities are complex. Become familiar with the Washington State Landlord Tenant act or hire a qualified, reliable property manager so you can actually enjoy being a landlord without a lot of stress.