What Are Tenants Required to Maintain?
What you’re responsible for as far as maintaining your rental home and what the landlord is responsible for should be outlined in your lease. If it’s not, your local or state laws may have general guidelines. Here are some items that may be your responsibility to take care of as a tenant that you may not know about regarding your home.
Replacing air filters every month is typically a tenant’s responsibility. The homeowner may provide the filters, your property management company may include them as part of a Resident Benefits Package, or they may be your expense. Regardless of who provides or pays for them, you, as a tenant, are most likely responsible for changing them.
What happens if you don’t replace the air filters? The heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are more efficient, which can save or cost you money on your gas or electricity bill. Many Houston, Texas property management company leases also have a clause that states that tenants could be held responsible for repairs resulting in negligence. So, if the HVAC breaks and the cause is found to be due to the filter not being replaced, you may be responsible for the cost of the repairs.
You may also be responsible for replacing water filters if your refrigerator has this feature.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries:
Batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are typically the tenant’s responsibility. When a smoke detector starts to beep, indicating that the battery is low and needs to be replaced, it’s essential (potentially lifesaving) that you replace the battery and not just remove it to stop the beeping. Every year, people die in fires due to smoke detectors that don’t have operable batteries.
Light bulbs are inexpensive, and you can keep them on hand to replace ones that burn out as needed. Most landlords will not pay for a handyperson to come and change out burnt-out light bulbs.
What the landlord is responsible for and what the tenant is responsible for can depend on multiple factors. For example, if you just moved into the rental home and there are pests, then it’s more likely that the landlord will pay for pest control than if you’ve lived there for ten months and are starting to have issues which may be due to how you’re maintaining the property. If you leave food out, then it could attract pests.
Other factors determining who is responsible are local laws, whether the property is a condominium or house (shared walls), and what type of pests you have. A raccoon nesting under the back porch due to inadequate fencing is a different scenario than ants being attracted to your half-eaten candy bars.
Unless your landlord or Houston, Texas property management company is paying for a service that comes and maintains the water softener regularly, you are most likely responsible for maintaining it. If you have questions about how this is done, you can reach out to the landlord or your Houston, Texas property management company for instructions if some weren’t already provided.
This is a toss-up since the tenant and others maintain some areas and lawns by the owner. Sometimes it’s a shared responsibility with more straightforward tasks, like watering and grass cutting, done by the tenant, while the landlord handles bush pruning, tree cutting, and possibly spring cleanup. Your lease should spell out what you need to do as a tenant (if anything) to maintain the lawn.
What the landlord or tenant is responsible for as far as maintaining the rental property can be a murky area. If you have any questions, review your lease, and if it’s still unclear, contact your landlord or Houston, Texas property management company to see what you’re responsible for while residing there. You may be held accountable for repairs resulting from negligence.
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