Is Routine Maintenance Landlord or Tenant Responsibility?

Do you remember playing Monopoly as a kid? As you made your way around the board, buying up properties and building your real estate empire, you’d occasionally have to pull a chance card – which could be great. Sometimes the chance card would tell you to advance to go and collect $200, but not all of the cards were so fun. There was also a “make general repairs on all your property” card, and it could cost you a lot of money.

In Monopoly, you only had to worry about maintaining your properties when you landed on chance, but in the real world, maintenance and repair are an important part of your role as a property owner and landlord.

Knowing the Law

According to California law, during the time that your property is being rented, you must do maintenance work and make repairs which are necessary to keep it habitable. These include:

  • Effective waterproofing and weather protection

  • Plumbing, gas, and heating facilities in good working order

  • Functioning electrical system, including lighting

  • Clean and sanitary buildings and grounds which are free from debris and vermin

  • Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair

You must also consider safety as part of your regular maintenance. Emergency exits must be kept up to code. Hallways and exits a required to be litter free. Doors and windows need the appropriate locks. And don’t forget about the smoke detectors.

For their part, tenants are expected to take reasonable care of the rental property, maintaining a clean and safe environment and using the property as intended. They must also notify their landlord of any issues or damage.

The responsibility for certain, less serious repairs, can be determined by the landlord and the tenant in the rental agreement. So, when it comes down to things like – “Does the landlord clean the gutters?” or “Is the renter responsible for changing the air-conditioner filters?” – you and your tenant need to be clear on who is doing what. Just remember, in the end, the property belongs to you, and you want to make sure that all maintenance is up to your standard.

Protect Your Property and Keep Your Tenants Happy

The work of routine maintenance can be a hassle – these are the chores that you hate to see on your to-do list, but they are an important part of protecting the value of your investment, so you’ll want to ensure they’re done right.

Staying on top of routine maintenance also shows tenants that you care about their quality of life and the place they call home. It will encourage them to take better care of the property as well. Regular maintenance offers you another touch point with your tenants, keeping the lines of communication open, and allowing you to keep a lookout for any possible issues with the property. Once a tenant is ready to move, you can also have some peace of mind knowing that you can quickly get your property ready to go back on the market, and a well-maintained property is more likely to attract and keep quality renters.

Make Your Plan

Don’t leave the care of your property to chance. Be sure to give routine maintenance the focus and energy it deserves, as it can make or break you as a property owner and landlord. At MV Properties we provide routine property inspections on a regular basis, and take measures to ensure your property is always in tiptop shape. We can take away the hassle of property maintenance and free up your time for better things, (like playing Monopoly with your family). Contact MV Properties today at 888-686-1525 or keegan@mvprops.com and visit our website to learn more.

About Keegan

Keegan McNamara is the founder of MV Properties, a leading San Diego property management company offering the highest level of service in property management, maintenance, and leasing. His goal is to cultivate long-lasting relationships with his clients (property owners) and their tenants to provide an enjoyable leasing experience. Keegan holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego and is a Principal at McNamara Ventures, a real estate development and investment company focused on residential and mixed-use properties.