Deciding whether a landlord or a tenant is responsible for something at the rental property can be tricky, especially if the expectations and responsibilities aren’t clear in the lease agreement.
Make sure your rental contract spells out what your tenants need to do while living in your property. Discuss the lease with them, and make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of what you will take care of and what the tenants need to handle.
Landlord Responsibilities in a Denver Rental Property
Landlords are responsible for providing a safe and habitable home, and for maintaining that home throughout the tenancy.
If you’re renting out a multi-family property or several units in an apartment building, it’s important that you maintain and clean the common areas. Common areas are anything spaces or structures within the building that all residents use, or outside the unit’s door. This will include hallways, parking lots, fitness centers, lobbies, and the outdoor space in front of and behind the building. If a tenant actually damages something such as an elevator or causes problems with the pool, you can hold that tenant responsible. But, when it comes to maintaining those common areas, it’s ultimately the landlord’s duty.
A landlord is also required to care for any of the appliances that were provided with the home. If the dishwasher breaks down, you have to repair it or replace it. Anything that you provided with the property when the tenants moved in is your responsibility to maintain.
You also have to pay attention to all state, federal, and local laws, regulations, and housing ordinances. Make sure you know what’s required of you as a landlord, or talk to a Denver property management company that can ensure you’re in compliance.
Responsibilities Shared by Landlords and Tenants
Both landlords and tenants are responsible for things like smoke detectors and air filters. You have to make sure the smoke detector and the cooling system in your property work. But, the tenant has to be responsible for changing batteries and air filters. Make sure this is in your lease.
Landscaping and lawn maintenance may also be a shared responsibility. Perhaps you provide professional landscaping twice a year, but you expect the tenant to mow the lawn in the summer and shovel the snow from the driveway and the sidewalk in the winter.
Tenant Responsibilities to a Rental Home
Your tenant is responsible for paying rent on time, taking care of the property, and preventing any damage. A good tenant will communicate transparently and let you know when there’s a repair that’s needed. Sometimes, tenants don’t immediately report problems because they don’t want to get blamed for it. Make sure your tenants understand that you need to know about repairs right away, regardless of who is at fault.
Tenants should be expected to make minor repairs. A garbage disposal can be easily reset by tenants, for example, and they can also handle things like keeping drains free from clogs and preventing mold from growing in the shower.
It can be helpful to give your tenants a bit of an orientation when they move in. Show them how things in the property work, and explain what they should handle themselves and what they should report to you as a maintenance need. Communication can really solve a lot of the confusion about who should be responsible for what.
If you have any further questions regarding tenant and landlord responsibilities or anything pertaining to Denver property management, please contact us at Walters & Company.