Nothing will set off a dispute between landlords and tenants like misunderstandings over responsibilities and expectations. As a rental property owner, you need to be sure you understand your own role in providing a safe and habitable home. You’ll also need to communicate to your tenants what you expect from them.
There’s a balance between providing good customer service to your residents and holding them accountable.
Phoenix Landlord Responsibilities
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.
Single family homes are a bit different. You may have a pool or a spa. There’s also landscaping to consider. You can require the tenant to take care of these things, but if you want to be sure they’re maintained correctly, you might be better off keeping that responsibility for yourself. Pool pumps and chemicals can be dangerous in unqualified hands. Consider hiring professionals to maintain these things and include the cost in your rental amount.
Most condominium complexes have a homeowners association (HOA) that maintains the common areas. The HOA will enforce the maintenance, requiring the property owner to comply with the community’s rules and regulations. In turn, you will need to ensure your tenant complies with those requirements.
Landlords are 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 Phoenix property management company that can ensure you’re in compliance.
Phoenix Tenant Responsibilities
Tenants are required to pay rent on time, follow the terms of the lease agreement, and take care of minor issues around the property while they are living there. This includes changing light bulbs when they burn out, changing the air filters regularly, reporting maintenance issues that are needed, and keeping the property clean and functioning.
Your tenants are also responsible for any damage that they or their guests cause. If they damage your property by abusing, neglecting, or misusing it, they need to pay the repairs costs. This makes it important for you to document the condition of your home before the tenants move in. Then, you’ll clearly be able to see if there was any damage after they move out, and you’ll be able to charge the security deposit accordingly.
Phoenix Lease Agreements
Your lease agreement is the best place for you to list exactly what the tenant is responsible for and what you will take care of as the landlord. This is where you should stipulate who is responsible for maintaining which parts of the home.
This is a business decision for rental property owners. When it comes to maintaining the home, you want your tenants to keep it in good condition. You want them to help out with the maintenance and, at the same time, you want to avoid liability and risk as well. For example, changing the light bulbs seems like an easy thing for tenants to do - not when they’re located on a high ceiling, requiring the renter to use a ladder. Similarly, trimming high tree branches can be a dangerous situation for a tenant. These are the types of maintenance that you’d want to handle or hire somebody to take care of it for you.
Keep the lines of communication open with your tenants so they are comfortable asking questions when they’re not sure if something is their responsibility while living in your property. You don’t want them to neglect reporting maintenance issues because they’re afraid you’ll make them pay for it.
If you’d like any help or further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Service Star Realty. We’d love to serve as your Phoenix property management resource.