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Some regular maintenance is important to keep your rental property in good condition. These tasks, which may be performed at least once a year, can include the following:

  • Preventative HVAC system maintenance before summer for the air conditioner and before winter for the heating system. 
  • Water heater inspection by a plumber.
  • Clean gutters of leaf litter and other material.
  • Replace and test smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
  • Landscaping when the seasons transition.

You can conduct an annual property inspection to look for areas of concern, such as the following:

  • Roof damage to shingles, flashing, or other components. 
  • Customary wear and tear, smoke or water damage, and other problems caused by tenants or their pets.
  • Look for signs that you may want pest control services.
  • Check faucets and other plumbing fixtures to make sure they work and check the grout and caulk in showers and bathtubs for mold or mildew.
  • Look for leaking pipes in basements and under sinks to prevent water damage.
  • Check electrical outlets for signs of damage.

What maintenance or inspections are required at more frequent intervals?

Some types of maintenance or inspections may be required more often than once or twice a year. How often will depend on many factors, including whether your rental property is a single-family or multi-unit property and the number of tenants you have. If you engage professional help, you can make a Maintenance Contract to specify frequency and extent of maintenance.

  • It is a good idea to walk through the property or unit prior to a new tenant’s move-in to check for any issues and to document the property’s condition.
  • Walk through after move-out, so you can compare the condition of the property before move-in and after the tenant leaves.
  • A multi-unit property has common areas, walkways, hallways, doorways, and swimming pools that may involve routine maintenance like sweeping and mopping. 
  • If you have a lawn, gardens, or woodland, you may want to engage a professional landscaper or gardener who can provide landscaping services under a Landscaping Contract.
  • Your lease terms or state and local laws may require you to provide snow removal services.
  • A natural disaster or severe storm event may prompt you to engage in more extensive maintenance or renovation activities.

What can you include in your Lease Agreement to limit stress?

Your Lease Agreement can outline what routine maintenance is your responsibility and what is the tenant’s responsibility. For example, tenants can be responsible for damage that they caused, while landlords are responsible for major repairs and maintenance issues that are out of tenants’ control. The document may indicate that certain damage, if not repaired by the tenant, could be deducted from the security deposit at the end of the lease.

The lease can note when property inspections occur. While you are the owner of the property, the tenant has the right to use the property during the term of the lease. You might need to provide tenants with a Landlord’s Notice to Enter in advance before conducting property inspections. 

You can also use the lease to explain the process and timeframe for managing maintenance requests. You can provide tenants with a Tenant Maintenance Request form or a Tenant Repair Request form. This can help both of you document a maintenance issue and the need for repairs.

Finally, you can provide tenants with a Move-Out Checklist that documents any maintenance or repair issues that may ultimately be the tenant’s responsibility. 

What maintenance duties can a property manager provide?

A property manager or management company can handle most aspects of operating a rental property, including rental applications, rent collection, and even evictions. They can also handle a landlord’s maintenance responsibilities. Your Property Manager Agreement can outline all maintenance tasks. This may include anything that the manager or management staff is qualified to do. Specific tasks might include the following:

  • Regular inspections to ensure the property is in good condition.
  • Cleaning common areas.
  • Minor repairs at tenants’ request.
  • Subcontracting maintenance requests and major repairs to professionals.
  • Minor landscaping duties.
  • Coordinating maintenance or repair professionals around tenant availability.

Tenant Maintenance Request and Tenant Repair Request forms can go directly to the property manager. You can ask the property manager to complete a Maintenance Report Form to document all maintenance or repairs. This can help you keep track of expenses and the condition of your rental property.

If you would like to know more about your maintenance responsibilities as a rental property owner, you can contact a Rocket Lawyer network attorney today for affordable legal advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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