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Basic Rental Property Maintenance: Who Does What?

Portsmouth Tenant Replacing a Battery in the Smoke DetectorAs a Portsmouth property owner, it is important to know who is responsible for what as far as it concerns basic rental property maintenance. To keep your rental property in pristine condition and profitable, it’s pertinent to have a proactive property maintenance system in place. This maintenance may be acted upon by you or by a service technician. Yet, there are innumerable small and minor maintenance tasks that you can and should expect your tenant to take careful charge of. Here are a handful of the most common rental property maintenance tasks and who is most often responsible for each one:

Clogged toilets.  If a toilet becomes clogged, it is normally the tenant’s responsibility to clear out the blockage. On top of that, there may be exceptions, for instance, if the blockage is caused by plumbing disputes unrelated to the tenant’s use. In this situation, you would disputably need to handle the repairs yourself or call a professional.

Broken windows. If a window is broken, it could be either the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to repair or replace the window. This is for the reason that the responsibility for window replacement lies with the reason for the breakage. If the window was broken due to tenant negligence, they should pay to replace it. Still, if a window is damaged due to severe weather or other cases out of a tenant’s control, the property owner is responsible for fixing it up. Put in mind always that this may be a security issue; mitigation is the key here.

Lightbulbs. Normally, tenants are responsible for replacing lightbulbs in their rental homes. This is for the reason that most light fixtures are considered part of the tenant’s living space.

Carpeting and flooring. When you think about the cleanliness of flooring, this would be a tenant’s responsibility.  If the flooring becomes deteriorated or worn out, then the responsibility naturally falls to the Portsmouth property manager. That is because these are portions of the property that see a lot of wear and tear over time. In particular cases, on the other hand, tenants may be responsible for damage to carpeting or flooring. Thus, in this case, the tenant would need to pay for the repairs.

Batteries in smoke and CO detectors. Smoke and CO detectors are key for keeping a rental property safe. The batteries in these devices should be consistently tested and replaced depending on the need. Every so often, state law looks into whether it is the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to replace the batteries. Disregarding with whom the responsibility lies, as a landlord, you should be ascertaining and replacing batteries two times per year.

Air filters.  Air filters help keep the air in a rental property clean and free of pollutants. Generally, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to replace the air filters. On the other hand, certain properties have air filter systems that tenants cannot easily access and change themselves. In such an event in your rental property, it is your responsibility to ascertain that your air filters are changed frequently.

When assigning maintenance tasks to your tenants, it’s often crucial to compose clear language that delineates all responsibilities in your lease. This will help to prevent any conflicts or disagreements down the road. By taking into account who is responsible for what as far as it concerns rental property maintenance, you can keep your property in pristine condition and keep off any potential legal problems.


Rental property maintenance can be quite taxing and takes considerable time, especially if you have to look after whether your tenant is fulfilling their responsibilities. But Real Property Management Seacoast New Hampshire can help. We are experts in single-family rental property management, and we can effectively take care of all maintenance for you. Contact us online to learn more as regards our quality services.

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