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Basic Rental Property Maintenance: Who Does What?

Grandville Tenant Replacing a Battery in the Smoke DetectorAs a Grandville property owner, it is really important to understand who is responsible for what as regards basic rental property maintenance. To keep your rental property in favorable condition and profitable, it’s pivotal to have a proactive property maintenance system in place. This maintenance may be simply done by you or by a service technician. Then again, there are various small maintenance tasks that you can and should expect your tenant to easily fulfill. Here are quite a few of the most common rental property maintenance tasks and who is generally responsible for each one:

Clogged toilets.  If a toilet becomes clogged, it is usually the tenant’s responsibility to get rid of the blockage. But in actuality, there may be exceptions, like if the blockage is caused by plumbing concerns unrelated to the tenant’s use. In this regard, you would perhaps need to handle the repairs yourself or call a professional.

Broken windows. If a window is broken, it is usually either the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to repair or replace the window. The fact of the matter is that the responsibility for window replacement lies with the starting point or cause of the breakage. If the window was broken due to tenant negligence, they should pay to replace it. Now, if a window is damaged due to severe weather or other matters out of a tenant’s control, the property owner is responsible for having it fixed. Always keep in mind that this may be a security issue; mitigation is the key here.

Lightbulbs. As a general rule, tenants are responsible for replacing lightbulbs in their rental homes. The fact of the matter is that most light fixtures are considered part of the tenant’s living space.

Carpeting and flooring. Concerning the cleanliness of flooring, this would be the tenant’s responsibility.  If the flooring eventually becomes damaged or worn out, then the responsibility most often falls to the Grandville property manager. The reason is that these are parts of the property that see a lot of wear and tear over time. On some occasions, though, tenants may be responsible for damage to carpeting or flooring. Therefore, the tenant would need to pay for the repairs.

Batteries in smoke and CO detectors. Smoke and CO detectors are substantial for keeping a rental property safe. The batteries in these devices should be regularly tested and replaced when appropriate. In a few cases, state law indicates whether it is the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to replace the batteries. It does not matter, however, with whom the responsibility lies, as a landlord, you should be constantly checking and replacing batteries twice a year.

Air filters. Air filters help keep the air in a rental property clean and free of pollutants. Normally, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to replace the air filters. Nevertheless, certain properties have air filter systems that tenants cannot just access and change themselves. If that is so in your rental property, it is your responsibility to establish that your air filters are changed as often as needed.

When assigning maintenance tasks to your tenants, it’s generally important to state in clear language indicating all responsibilities in your lease. This will help to sidestep any discords or disagreements down the road. By comprehending who is responsible for what as regards rental property maintenance, you can keep your property in the most favorable condition and suppress any potential legal problems.


Rental property maintenance can be cumbersome, particularly if you will always have to pay attention to and keep checking whether your tenant is fulfilling their responsibilities. But Real Property Management Investment Solutions can help. We are experts in single-family rental property management, and we can properly take care of all maintenance for you. Contact us online to learn more about our excellent and quality services.

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