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Basic Rental Property Maintenance: Who Does What?

Cary Tenant Replacing a Battery in the Smoke DetectorAs a Cary property owner, it is vital to grasp who is responsible for what in regards to basic rental property maintenance. To keep your rental property in the best condition and profitable, it’s very important to have a proactive property maintenance system in place. This maintenance may be executed by you or by a service technician. But, there are many small maintenance tasks that you can and should expect your tenant to conduct. Here are a number of the most common rental property maintenance tasks and who is, in general, responsible for each one:

Clogged toilets.  If a toilet becomes clogged, it is frequently the tenant’s responsibility to eliminate the blockage. Still, there may be exceptions, namely if the blockage is caused by plumbing problems unrelated to the tenant’s use. In cases like this, you would, in all likelihood, need to handle the repairs yourself or call a professional.

Broken windows. If a window is broken, it could be either the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to repair or replace the window. The reason for this is that the responsibility for window replacement lies with the cause of the breakage. If the window was broken due to tenant negligence, they should pay to replace it. On the other hand, if a window is damaged due to severe weather or other circumstances out of a tenant’s control, the property owner is responsible for mending it. Remember that this may be a security issue; mitigation is the key here.

Lightbulbs. Overall, tenants are responsible for replacing lightbulbs in their rental homes. The reason for this is that all light fixtures are considered part of the tenant’s living space.

Carpeting and flooring. When you talk about the cleanliness of flooring, this would be a tenant’s responsibility.  If the flooring gets cracked or worn out, then the responsibility consistently falls to the Cary property manager. The fact of the matter is that these are aspects of the property that see a lot of wear and tear over time. Having said that, in some instances, tenants may be responsible for damage to carpeting or flooring. In this case, the tenant Cary Tenant Replacing a Battery in the Smoke Detectorwould need to pay for the repairs.

Batteries in smoke and CO detectors. Smoke and CO detectors are relevant for keeping a rental property safe. The batteries in these devices should be oftentimes tested and replaced as required. From time to time, state law states 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 be making it a point to replace batteries two times per year.

Air filters.  Air filters help keep the air in a rental property clean and free of pollutants. In most instances, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to replace the air filters. But on the other hand, various properties have air filter systems that tenants cannot quickly access and change themselves. If so in your rental property, it is your responsibility to make it a point that your air filters are changed often.

When assigning maintenance tasks to your tenants, it’s significant to use clear language describing all responsibilities in your lease. This will help to steer clear of any mistakes or disagreements down the road. By ascertaining who is responsible for what in regards to rental property maintenance, you can keep your property in the best condition and prevent any potential legal problems.


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

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