Maintaining a rental property falls to both landlords and tenants. As a San Jose property owner, you’re required to provide a safe and habitable home. As tenants, renters are required to help you keep that property clean and well-maintained. Make sure everyone understands their responsibilities before the lease is signed and the keys handed over.

Minor repairs can be handled by the tenant. For example, if a battery in a remote control needs to be changed or a new light bulb is needed, tenants can handle it. Air filters should be changed regularly by the tenant, and your lease agreement should reflect this.

We don’t want tenants handling anything that requires more depth or a real repair. Unless the tenants are professional contractors, we really don’t want them fixing the things that become damaged in the home. It can lead to a lot of problems and further expenses.

Avoiding Liability and using Professional Vendors

One of the reasons we don’t want tenants making major repairs is that they could get hurt, or they could cause more damage to your property. When tenants are climbing ladders or dealing with power tools, you could be liable for their safety. This is an excellent reason to only use licensed and insured vendors and contractors for maintenance at your rental property.

If your tenant happens to be a professional electrician or plumber – great! However, tenants who are unqualified to do real repair work should avoid it. Don’t put your investment at risk.

Tenant-Caused Damages and Responsibilities

Your tenant may accidentally break something like a window or a door. Those things can be fixed by the tenants. If tenants cause any damage that’s beyond normal wear and tear, they are responsible for the repair. Frequent inspections and documented property condition reports can help you stay organized and hold the tenant accountable.

If your tenant does not report a maintenance issue in a timely manner, they should be held responsible for the additional repairs that are needed. Perhaps there’s a leak in one of the tubs that the tenant noticed six months ago but failed to report. If that leak causes further water damage or even mold, it’s going to be that tenant’s responsibility. They are required to report maintenance issues to you right away. Make sure your lease agreement states this.

Tenant Communication and Insurance

Tenant Communication and InsuranceIf the tenant is responsible for any repairs that are needed, make sure you communicate openly and transparently. Let your tenant know what you expect and what they are responsible for. You should always require renter’s insurance, especially for situations like this. Start your conversation by asking if the tenant’s renter’s insurance policy will cover the damage. That can bring a lot of peace of mind to your tenant and to you.

If you have any questions about what the tenants should be responsible for when it comes to repairs and maintenance, we’d be happy to help you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Real Estate Connections.