Sometimes things break in your rental property. It’s just the way of the world. However, do you know which repairs are your responsibility and which are your tenants’ responsibility? We’ve prepared this handy little guide to help you differentiate what’s your problem and what’s your tenants’ problem. The first question you need to ask yourself is…
Was the damage caused by the tenant?
If the tenant causes damage beyond reasonable wear and tear, it is their responsibility to fix it. However, if the damage occurred due to age or issues outside of the tenant’s control, the ball is in your court.
For example, if the lock on the front door breaks and didn’t really work properly prior to breaking altogether, that is your responsibility as a landlord to replace it. However, if the tenant has broken the lock because they locked themselves out of the house and didn’t want to call a locksmith, that’s their job to fix it.
(Credit: Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash) If the tenant causes the damage, they need to reimburse you for repairs or organise the repairs themselves
Emergency repairs cover everything from burst water pipes and gas leaks through to electrical failures and clogged toilets. It also covers damages incurred by natural disasters, storms, and flooding. These repairs are a landlord’s responsibility to cover. If the emergency occurs on a weekend or public holiday, the tenants may need to organise a repair themselves. In the event this happens, they will hold onto the invoice for the repair and pass it on to you and your property manager for reimbursement.
However, it is the tenants’ responsibility to insure their own belongings. If their possessions incur damage due to flooding, they need to claim that through contents insurance, just as you would be claiming your damages through house insurance.
(Credit: Skeeze on Pixabay) Flood damages are an emergency repair, but you’re only responsible for the house, not your tenants’ belongings
Chips, scratches, and marks
Deciding who covers the cost for these things will often fall to the discretion of your property manager. Some scratches and marks will fall under general wear and tear. After all, you can’t expect tenants to live in a property for 3 years and not have a couple of little dings here and there. These are usually small and an easy fix before new tenants move in.
However, if your tenants had a couch sitting directly on hardwood floors and it has dragged and left deep scratches, you are within your rights to ask for compensation for the damage.
(Credit: Devanath on Pixabay) Are the cracks, scratches, and marks wear and tear?
Things such as blown light bulbs, mouldy shower curtains, and build up in the oven are your tenant’s responsibility to fix and replace.
(Credit: Jon Tyson on Unsplash) Blown bulbs must be replaced by your tenants prior on exit