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Basic Rental Property Maintenance: Who Does What?

White Plains Tenant Replacing a Battery in the Smoke DetectorAs a White Plains property owner, it is pertinent to distinguish very clearly who is responsible for what about basic rental property maintenance. To keep your rental property in the best condition and profitable, it’s crucial to have a proactive property maintenance system in place. This maintenance may be operated by you or by a service technician. At the same time, there are a handful of small maintenance tasks that you can and should expect your tenant to execute. Here is a good list of the most common rental property maintenance tasks and who is usually responsible for each one:

Clogged toilets.  If a toilet becomes clogged, it is conventionally the tenant’s responsibility to fix and get rid of the blockage. Still, there may be exceptions, case in point if the blockage is caused by plumbing issues and concerns unrelated to the tenant’s use. When this is the case, you would most likely have to handle the repairs yourself or call a professional.

Broken windows. If a window is broken, it is often either the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to repair or replace the window. This is related to the fact the responsibility for window replacement lies with the core reason for the breakage. If the window was broken due to tenant negligence, they should pay to replace it. Conversely, if a window is damaged due to severe weather or other happenings out of a tenant’s control, the property owner is responsible for mending it. Take into consideration that this may be a security issue; mitigation is the key here.

Lightbulbs. Mainly, tenants are responsible for replacing lightbulbs in their rental homes. This is related to the fact 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 becomes wrecked or worn out, then the responsibility typically falls to the White Plains property manager. It has something to do with the fact that these are aspects of the property that see a lot of wear and tear over time. At times, though, tenants may be responsible for damage to carpeting or flooring. Because of this, the tenant would need to pay for the repairs.

Batteries in smoke and CO detectors. Smoke and CO detectors are vital for keeping a rental property safe. The batteries in these devices should indeed be regularly tested and replaced when required. In certain scenarios, state law ascertains whether it is the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to replace the batteries. Regardless of with whom the responsibility lies, as a landlord, you should always remember to check and replace batteries two times per year.

Air filters.  Air filters help keep and maintain the air in a rental property clean and free of pollutants. Typically, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to replace the air filters. Then again, many properties have air filter systems that tenants cannot easily access and change themselves. If this is so, in your rental property, then it is your responsibility to always make sure that your air filters are changed periodically.

When assigning maintenance tasks to your tenants, it’s critically important to utilize clear language to clear up all responsibilities in your lease. This will help to eliminate any misconceptions or disagreements down the road. By making it clear who is responsible for what when it comes to rental property maintenance, you can keep your property in a pristine condition and ward off any potential legal problems.


Rental property maintenance can be laborious and completely time-consuming, certainly if you will have to always check whether your tenant is fulfilling their responsibilities. But Real Property Management Gold absolutely can help. We are experts in single-family rental property management, and we can thoroughly take care of all maintenance for you. Contact us online to learn more in terms of our quality services.

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