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Basic Rental Property Maintenance: Who Does What?

Wake Forest Tenant Replacing a Battery in the Smoke DetectorAs a Wake Forest property owner, it is pivotal to know clearly who is responsible for what in connection with basic rental property maintenance. To keep your rental property in top-grade condition and profitable, it’s salient to have a proactive property maintenance system in place. This maintenance may be successfully done by you or by a service technician. On the flip side, there are quite a few small maintenance tasks that you can and should expect your tenant to work on. Here are several 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, normally, the tenant’s responsibility to get rid of the blockage. But certainly, there may be exceptions, for instance, if the blockage is caused by plumbing troubles unrelated to the tenant’s use. Should this happen, you would certainly need to handle the repairs yourself or call a professional.

Broken windows. If a window is broken, it is quite possibly either the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to repair or replace the window. This is because 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. Though, if a window is damaged due to severe weather or other happenings out of a tenant’s control, the property owner is responsible for repairing and fixing it. Bear in mind that this may be a security issue; mitigation is the key here.

Lightbulbs. Normally, tenants are responsible for replacing lightbulbs in their rental homes. This is because practically all light fixtures are considered part of the tenant’s living space.

Carpeting and flooring. As regards the cleanliness of flooring, this would be the tenant’s responsibility.  If the flooring turns out to be damaged or worn out, then the responsibility generally falls to the Wake Forest property manager. This has to do with the fact these are characteristics of the property that see a lot of wear and tear over time. Now and again, however, tenants may be responsible for damage to carpeting or flooring. In this matter, the tenant would need to pay for the repairs.

Batteries in smoke and CO detectors. Smoke and CO detectors are necessary for keeping a rental property safe. The batteries in these devices should be thoroughly tested and replaced as needed. In certain situations, state law ascertains whether it is the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to replace the batteries. No matter with whom the responsibility lies, as a landlord, you should always make sure to check and replace batteries two times per year.

Air filters.  Air filters help keep the air in a rental property clean and free of pollutants. Mostly, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to replace the air filters. With that said, innumerable properties have air filter systems that tenants cannot, without hassle, access and change themselves. If this is the case in your rental property, it is your responsibility to always make certain that your air filters are changed routinely.

When assigning maintenance tasks to your tenants, it’s consistently pertinent to always use clear language in the delegation of all responsibilities in your lease. This will help to prevent any confusion or disagreements down the road. By knowing clearly who is responsible for what in connection with rental property maintenance, you can keep your property in mint condition and stave off any potential legal problems.


Rental property maintenance can be a drawn-out, time-consuming process definitely if you have to constantly follow up and check whether your tenant is fulfilling their responsibilities. But Real Property Management Raleigh can certainly be of help. We are experts in single-family rental property management, and we can properly take care of all maintenance for you. Contact us online to learn more regarding our quality services.

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