A landlord is a house, flat, or land owner who rents or leases his property out to an individual who is called a tenant or renter. A landlord is saddled with the responsibility to select tenants for his property.
A landlord’s responsibility doesn’t end with owning property and getting it filled with reliable tenants. Once an owner reaches a rental agreement with a tenant, and a contract is signed, a legal relationship has been born. Just like in every relationship, there are expectations from all parties. The landlord has responsibilities to his tenants, the government, and his immediate environment.
The daily activities of a landlord are not formally structured like a regular 9-5 job. He might have a busy day one day, and not have anything to deal with for the rest of the week.
Some particular tenancy laws differ from state to state. It is important to review the laws of your state to understand correctly what their responsibilities are. Here are the top 5 duties of a Landlord.
It is the responsibility of the landlord to keep your living environment habitable before you move in. Such conditions must be retained for the duration of your tenants’ stay. Sweeping of common areas, putting out the garbage, and cleaning of gutters are necessary maintenance that should be carried out regularly.
Relevant security measures must be put in place to ensure that safety is guaranteed. Health and safety must always be of top priority. The landlord must make sure that all equipment provided meets safety standards. Tenants are also obliged to report structural defects promptly; this will help the landlord carry out a timely repair.
He must provide a smoke alarm in all apartments and ensure emergency exits are kept free. Fire extinguishers should be placed in strategic locations. Tenants must feel safe in their homes.
The landlord is responsible for carrying out repair work in a timely fashion. Repair works, such as electricity problems, plumbing issues, faulty security and safety devices, etc. He can either carry this task out himself or employ the services of a professional. All these will be at his expense, unless he can prove that the tenant is responsible for the damage. Also, unless the lease agreement states that the tenant is responsible for carrying out repairs, the landlord will not be liable.
In situations where the landlord refuses to carry out the necessary repairs, some states allow tenants to withhold rent. If he continues to ignore his obligation to perform repairs, the tenant is authorised to use the rent to carry out the repairs. The landlord can’t evict the tenant for this reason. Ignoring maintenance responsibilities can lead to expensive legal problems if it leads to injuries.
As a landlord, you have an obligation to pay taxes to the government for properties owned. You are also obliged to pay taxes on the rent you receive from your tenants. Owning a property doesn’t grant automatic freedom from government taxes. Failure to pay taxes to the government can lead to a lawsuit and even prison sentence depending on the law of the state.
Depending on the prior agreement, some landlords are responsible for paying the utility bills of their properties. If you are in this position as an owner, you need to pay the bills on time. You can either do this by yourself or delegate it to someone else. Not paying on time will deprive your tenants of essential services. This will be a violation of lease agreement and can result in a lawsuit.
A security deposit is the money paid to landlords by tenants when moving to a new apartment. The money is meant to cover any unpaid rent or damages. Landlords are required to place tenant’s deposits in a government approved tenancy deposit scheme. If you meet the terms of your lease at the end of your tenancy, you are entitled to get your deposit back. This is possible when you haven't damaged your apartment or don’t have a backlog of unpaid rent.
If you owe rent or if you damaged your landlord's property, he is entitled to deduct the cost from your security deposit. If the security deposit still doesn’t cover the cost, he may decide to sue you. Your landlord has no right to keep your security deposit for normal wear and tear. Examples of normal wear and tear are chipped paint or a worn carpet.
The homeowner must ensure that the tenant enjoys the comprehensive benefit of the rented apartment without the adversely affecting this benefit. The landlord has the right access the tenant’s apartment for repairs. However, he is not allowed to enter at will. The landlord must provide you with adequate notice before entering your apartment. In emergency situations like a fire outbreak or flooding, your landlord can enter your apartment without prior notice. He can also grant access to relevant security or safety agencies in such situations.
●Advising tenants to purchase rent insurance
●Keeping common areas safe and well lit. (parking lots, stairwells, sidewalks and walkways)
●Maintaining a healthy relationship with tenants
●Following legal processes at all times
●Not harassing, threatening or Interfering with the tenant.
Some circumstances affect the pace with which a landlord can resolve certain issues. Factors such as vendor schedules, weather, and time affect this. Renters need to put these factors into consideration.
It is important for both a homeowner and tenant to maintain a healthy relationship. Establishing a healthy relationship with your landlord will have a positive impact on your living conditions. It will also facilitate a quick response to maintenance request, and keep your rates reasonably low.
●Ask relevant questions before renting an apartment.
●Know your expectations and go for it.
●Every decision should be in writing.
● Read your lease thoroughly.
●Pay your rent when due.
●Be reasonable with your requests.
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