What maintenance items are my responsibility as a renter?
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
A friend of mine once told me that they'd never own a home again because they didn't want the responsibilities that came with home ownership. She preferred renting because she claimed (incorrectly, it turns out!) that the owner of the property had to take care of everything! Now that I'm a property owner with rental properties, I can tell you that renters have certain responsibilities for maintaining the property they rent.
Begin by taking a look at your lease. If it's written correctly, it will outline the responsibilities for the property owner as well as the responsibilities for the tenant. On most residential lease documents here in Florida, there is a section called "Maintenance." It lists all sorts of items that must be maintained and it allows the property manager to check off who is responsible for each item, the landlord or the tenant. Some of the items listed for the landlord to maintain include roofs, doors, foundations, heating, electrical system, windows, floors, plumbing, hot water, porches, structural components, running water, cooling, steps, exterior walls, interior walls, and ceilings. While that is a pretty thorough list, there still are items that fall onto the responsibility of the renters. Depending on your lease, your list could vary, but here are some of the renter responsibilities we list: screens, locks and keys, smoke detection devices, garbage removal, extermination, water treatment, changing air conditioning filters monthly, and any repairs due to their negligence. Your responsibilities as a renter will be detailed in your lease document.
There are laws in each state that explain the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant in a leasing situation. Here in Florida, these laws can be found in the document, 2019 Florida Statutes, Title VI - Civil Practice and Procedure, Chapter 83 - Landlord and Tenant, in section 83.52 (just in case you need them, the landlord's obligations are in section 83.51). According to the law, here is the tenant's obligations in addition to what may be stated in their lease:
Tenants need to comply with building, housing, and health codes (just like landlords do). This could include not exceeding the maximum occupancy for the dwelling.
Renters need to keep the property they are renting clean and sanitary.
Garbage needs to be removed from the inside of the dwelling and it needs to be placed in the appropriate receptacles.
All plumbing fixtures in the unit or used by the renter need to be kept clean, sanitary, and in repair.
Renters need to use and operate all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and other facilities or appliances in a reasonable manner.
Tenants can't destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove anything that doesn't belong to them from the premises. They cannot permit anyone else to do these things either.
Renters and their guests cannot disturb the neighbors or breach the peace.
What if you aren't renting in Florida - then where do you find this information? It's easy - just do a Google search for the name of your state followed by the words statutes landlord tenant (so if you lived in Georgia, you would do a Google search for Georgia statutes landlord tenant).
It's important to understand what is stated in your lease in addition to knowing the laws relating to your situation. Saying that you didn't know doesn't exempt you from them!
Follow our blog at www.leesburg4rent.com/blog to read about issues that are important for both renters and landlords. Here are some of our recent posts that you as a renter might want to check out:
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