As a tenant in a rental property, you may think you’re off the hook when it comes to taking care of or maintaining your rental property, after all, you don’t own it. Chances are, however, you are dead wrong!
While a rental property’s owner is responsible for most maintenance issues, you have a responsibility, as a tenant, too.
Let’s talk about what the property owner and the property tenant are each responsible for:
Property Owner’s Responsibilities
The property owner is responsible for the property’s plumping, structural integrity, wiring, lighting, smoke detectors and ventilation. Further, a corporate housing landlord is responsible for keeping carpets, paint, wallpaper, etc. in working order after normal wear and tear.
A rental property’s tenant is responsible for any and all damages they cause. If a pet leaves scratches on the couch or hardwood floors, the tenant is responsible to repair the damage, for example. Even if the dog belonged to your friend of the tenant’s, the tenant is still responsible for the damage. Further, the tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean while using it. Trash buildup and lack of cleaning can expose a property to pest infestation – and such neglect is the responsibility of the tenant to prevent and/or fix if it occurs on their watch.
One area of contention can come when the lines between wear and tear and considerable damage come into play. While a tenant is not responsible for wear and tear to something like the property’s carpets (that is the landlord’s responsibility), they are responsible for damage to the carpet if they caused wine or pet urine stains. It is then the tenant’s duty to restore the carpets to the condition they found them.
Both tenants and landlords have some protection available to them. A landlord might charge a significant upfront security deposit as an individual “insurance” policy in case of damages, or s/he may require the tenant to get Accidental Rental Damage Insurance, a low-cost and often preferred option.