Tenants want a clean home where everything functions as it should. The landlord wants to minimize costs beyond ongoing maintenance. Its important to understand what is a major issue and what are minor issues in regards to repairs and maintenance on rental properties. Most items would seem like common sense but it is important that your have a clear understanding of your responsibilities.
As a landlord you are responsible to keep the property in good repair. In fact any provision in a lease that stipulates that the tenant is responsible for repairs to the property would likely be struck from the lease by the court if ever challenged. As part of your responsibility to keeping the property in good repair you need to ensure that property is structurally sound, that pluming is working, the AC and heater function as expected, and that electrical items like lights and outlets are functioning safely. If any of these breakdown it is your responsibility to repair or replace. The tenant is not responsible in any way for these costs.
One of the most important things you can do when you sign a new tenant is to do a property inspection and note any current damage or inoperable items to the property. By documenting any damage you will protect yourself should a tenant take legal action against you for failure to make a repair that existed, and was acknowledge before they moved in. By signing the lease and moving in with no written agreement that a repair would take place they have waived their right to make you make the repair. As long as the damage does not create a hazard you are under no obligation to repair it.
Keep in mind if damage or other problems exist that would not be viewable during an ordinary inspection at the move in time, then you would likely be required to complete the repair of fix the problem under the concept of the Implied Warrant of Habitability.
The Implied Warrant of Habitability concept as a landlord you promise your tenant a livable place. In essence by renting the property to the tenant you must:
The issues above are considered major issues and you have a responsibility as a landlord to address any that arise in a reasonable time frame. Defining a "reasonable time-frame" is subjective depending upon the severity of the damage. In any case making the repairs likely helps protect your property so repairs should be done as soon as you can.
The Landlord-Tenant Issues and Handbook is a great resource for more information on repairs and maintenance on rental properties. Another great resource is to engage a property manager to manage your rental properties.
GSPM assists property owners and investors in maximizing revenue potential while minimizing the hassles in marketing and managing their properties. We recognize that there are a lot of factors that go into making a property a successful investment and put our experience and knowledge to work for you. Call us at 404-254-4502 or complete our Fast Form to learn more about our services.