Maintenance on a Rental Property
When we say ‘maintenance’, we mean work to prevent deterioration or fix existing deterioration. Maintenance on a rental property may be a confusing issue. Tenants may mistakenly assume all maintenance is the responsibility of the leasing agent and maintenance staff but this is typically not true. In many cases the renting agent and maintenance staff are responsible for maintaining the common areas and performing major repairs on the flats but the tenants do normally have a few responsibilities. These responsibilities are much defined in the rental agreement and the tenant should familiarize himself with this document to verify his rights if a dispute arises.
Usually tenants have the responsibility of maintaining their flat and the surrounding area. This may include the interior of the flat as well as deck or patio space. However, maintenance of these areas applies to generally cleanliness only and not issues such as painting or repairs to the exterior or the interior of the flat structure or the appliances within the flat.
Additionally, tenants are responsible for small repairs in their house. This may include plunging a clogged toilet or changing a light bulb. However, if there are any duties a tenant feels uncomfortable performing such as changing a light bulb in a high location, the tenant should contact the maintenance staff for assistance.
Tenants also have a responsibility to show common courtesy to other tenants by not intentionally damaging or otherwise marring public areas. This includes vandalism, littering and even failure to pick up after dogs. Tenants who fail to follow these rules of common courtesy possibly subject to fines or other penalties according to the rental agreement.
Renting Agent Responsibilities
The renting agent and maintenance staff are normally held responsible for major items such as repairs to the exterior of the building, fixing appliances which are malfunctioning and dealing with plumbing issues such as leaky pipes. Additionally, the maintenance staff is responsible for intervening if the tenant is having trouble with public utilities. Problem such as no hot water or heat to the flat should be addressed by the maintenance staff in conjunction with the public utilities entity.
The renting agent and maintenance staff is also responsible for maintaining the common areas. This may include keeping grassy areas manicured and other common areas looking clean and attractive.
When the Leasing Agent is Not Taking Responsibility
As previously discussed, the renting agent has certain responsibilities to perform tasks and address concerns and complaints by the tenants. However, when the renting agent isn’t fulfilling these responsibilities it could create a harmful living environment for the tenant. E.g. hot water is required to adequately clean dishes. This is why there should always be hot water to the flat. Additionally, in severely cold weather the inability to heat the flat due to faulty utilities or windows which are not properly sealed may create a hazardous condition for the tenant.
Both of the examples mentioned above are situations in which the tenant may put in a hazardous condition by the renting agent’s negligence. In these situations the tenant should contact the Department of Housing to determine the proper cause of action to take in this situation.
In some cases the tenant possibly informed the alleged transgression by the renting agent isn’t really his responsibility. However, in other situations the tenant may be informed that the actions of the leasing agent are a serious violation of the rental agreement. In either case, the representative may provide information on how to proceed to achieve the desired results.