Maintaining a property is important to keep tenants happy and helps to keep occupancy rates high. It is also required by law for a basic living standard when it comes to certain functions of the property. It is important to remain on top of these repairs because not only will it keep your tenant happy, but it will ensure they aren’t legally allowed to withhold rent.
If a landlord fails to keep a property up to the legal standards for health and safety, a tenant can withhold rent, pay for the repairs themselves and deduct it from the rent, call state or local building health inspectors, sue the landlord, or move out without notice.
It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant who exercises any of these rights. Keeping a well maintained property will help a landlord avoid any issues that could arise.
Throughout the rental term, landlords are legally required to provide a livable home. Here are the elements of the home required to be functional in order to keep the property up to legal standards
- Waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls. This includes windows and doors.
- Plumbing, heating and electrical facilities must be maintained. This includes hot and cold water as well as functioning kitchen sinks and toilets.
- Clean and sanitary building grounds. No trash or debris can be laying around. Landlords are also required to provide trash receptacles.
- Well-maintained floors, stairs, and railings.
- Deadbolt locks on specific doors and windows
- No lead paint hazards
- No nuisances. Anything that could be a danger to human life or detrimental to health can be allowed on the property.
Best practice for requesting repairs
Both tenants and landlords should both want all maintenance requests in writing. This can help eliminate any confusion down the road and ensure landlords are able to keep track of unfinished tasks and complete them in an orderly fashion. One way to simplify this process is to have a portal online where tenants can submit any maintenance requests.