Understanding Property Maintenance Responsibilities for Landlords, Tenants, and Property Managers

Understanding Property Maintenance Responsibilities for Landlords, Tenants, and Property Managers

Maintenance is one of the most important parts of having an income property in Washington, DC. But it can also be one of the most challenging. Knowing which responsibilities belong to you as a landlord and to your tenants is essential to keeping everyone happy and your property running smoothly.

All maintenance responsibilities should be designated in the lease so everyone is clear on their obligations. But which responsibilities belong to which person? Here’s what you need to know when understanding property maintenance responsibilities for landlords, tenants, and property managers!

Landlords: Own the Property (And May Manage It)

The landlord, being the property owner, can either:

  1. Own the property
  2. Own and manage the property

Often, landlords will own the property and pay a property manager to run it. This means the property manager would be responsible for all the maintenance a landlord would otherwise have to handle.

However, the landlord is still responsible for supplying trash and recycling bins for the property, disclosing any environmental hazards—such as lead paint and asbestos—to both property managers and tenants, and keeping the structure safe, which generally means keeping the building up to code.

The landlord may work with the property manager to ensure these elements are properly addressed for a successful income property.

Property Managers: Manage the Property

The property manager, hired by the property owner, is responsible for much of the regular and emergency maintenance of the property. These tasks could include, but are not limited to:

  • Making repairs to items such as flooring, appliances, or exterior components
  • Pest control needs
  • Landscaping
  • Trash pickup
  • Plumbing
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Snow removal

Generally, the property manager is responsible for anything that’s not daily upkeep of the unit. These could be minor repairs such as a broken piece of trim to emergencies such as a water leak.

Tenants: Responsible for Some General Maintenance

Your tenants are responsible for some general maintenance of the property as agreed upon in the lease. They’re generally responsible for taking out the trash, picking up pet waste, and caring for the property, which includes appliances and plumbing.

While the landlord or property manager may fix issues caused by negligence, they may keep some of the tenants’ security deposit for doing so. For example, if the tenant isn’t properly using the garbage disposal and it breaks, they are liable for the repair costs.

Tenants are also generally responsible for:

  • Changing air filters
  • Replacing smoke alarm batteries
  • Keeping the unit clean
  • Caring for appliances
  • Preventing mold by utilizing proper ventilation when cooking or bathing

All parties should be clear on their maintenance responsibilities before signing the lease to ensure these tasks are taken care of throughout the leasing term.

Have Questions? Ask Away

Not sure if making your tenants shovel snow is a good idea, or whether you should be responsible for changing smoke detector batteries? Ask our professional property managers at FAS Management. We can help you make the most of your maintenance arrangement to ensure you’re not doing more than you need to as a landlord and that your tenants remain safe and happy. Call us at (202) 337-5080!

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