When you’re renting out a property, you likely understand your most basic responsibilities. You have to provide a safe and habitable home for your tenants, and you need to maintain that home throughout the length of the lease. Similarly, tenants understand that they have to pay rent on time and take good care of the home while they’re living there.
It seems simple enough. Things can get complicated, however, when you’re not sure who should take care of things like air filters and pest control. Does the landlord or the tenant change light bulbs when they’re burnt out? What about landscaping?
There are some things that you are absolutely responsible for, such as general maintenance. You don’t want your tenant trying to replace the roof or repair a water heater. Those responsibilities that can go either way simply need to be addressed in the lease agreement. Make sure you talk to your tenants about who is responsible for what before they move in. Your residents deserve to know your expectations and you want to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Responsibilities a Kelowna Landlord Can Expect
Your responsibilities begin before a tenant even moves in. You’ll have to make sure the property is in habitable condition, and clean. Conduct a thorough inspection before it’s occupied to make sure there aren’t any last minute repairs or replacements that may be necessary before a tenant moves in. You’re responsible for the condition of the home and you’ll want to document that condition with photographs, checklists, and even videos so there can be no disputing how things looked and worked at the beginning of the lease period.
You’re also responsible for responding to emergency and routine repairs throughout the tenancy. When a tenant calls because the heat isn’t working, you’ll need to fix it – and quickly. Make sure you or a Kelowna property manager is on call 24 hours a day in case there’s an emergency at the property that requires your immediate intervention.
Additional landlord responsibilities include following the Residential Tenancy Act. If you’re going to raise the rent, for example, you’re responsible for providing a Notice of Rental Increase three months before that rent goes up. You are responsible for communicating with your tenant, tracking your income and expenses, and consistently following the terms of the lease agreement.
Responsibilities a Kelowna Tenant Can Expect
Tenants are responsible for keeping your property clean and in good condition while they are living there. They must return the home to you at the end of the lease period in the same condition that it was when they moved in, with the allowed general wear and tear.
Your residents must pay rent on time, as stipulated in the lease agreement. They must follow all the terms of the lease agreement, and communicate with you when they have questions or run into problems.
When it comes to contributing to maintenance, you can expect your tenants to take care of minor things such as changing air filters, replacing batteries and light bulbs, and responding to small, everyday needs around the property. Any damage that is caused by the tenants will be the tenant’s responsibility. If someone punches a hole through the wall, for example, that’s the tenant’s responsibility. If a child flushes a toy down the toilet, the plumbing repair can reasonably be expected to be covered by the tenant.
Addressing Responsibilities in the Lease Agreement
Every property is different, and you may want to structure things like utilities, landscaping, and pest control in a way that best meets your needs and the needs of your property. Some owners prefer to maintain control over utility accounts and they simply bill the cost back to the tenants based on usage. Others require their tenants to set up accounts of their own. There’s no single way to do it that’s correct; just make sure that you state who is responsible for those utility accounts and payments in the lease. The same goes for landscaping. Maybe you’ll want your tenants to mow the lawn in a single-family rental but you’ll have a professional service landscape your multi-family units. It should be written out in the lease.
We can help you decide how to handle things like maintenance, pest control, utilities, and even rent collection. If you’d like to hear more about professional Kelowna property management or how to share responsibilities for your rental property with your tenants, please contact us at Vantage West Property Management.