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October 15, 2018


landlords’ and tenants’ responsibilities to structural and exterior repairs


Creating comfortable living conditions in a rental property requires joint efforts of both tenants and landlords.

Leaving repairs and maintenance to landlords just because they’re the owners of rental properties is no fairer then landlords’ expecting tenants to take care of everything just because they live in those dwellings. However, it’s important that both landlords and tenants know which exact responsibilities they have when it comes to structural and exterior repairs, changes and maintenance checks.

Repairing the Foundation

Foundation issues are a type of structural problem that may cause serious damage to a property if overlooked. Taking care of these issues is the responsibility of landlords who should perform regular checks to prevent these problems or fix them in a timely manner. However, tenants shouldn’t disregard the possible signs of foundation issues, such as cracks, dents, etc. Therefore, tenants should keep their eyes open and even inspect the foundation every once in a while. As soon as they notice a foundation issue, they should inform their landlords so that they can address the problem quickly and efficiently. This can save landlords a lot of money and effort while benefitting tenants, as well.

Fixing the Exterior Walls

Damaged exterior walls are another structural problem that landlords should take care of. If left untreated, wall cracks, holes and water leaks can not only cause serious property damage but also affect tenants’ safety. Since this is a major repair, landlords are obliged to fix it. However, tenants are responsible to report any indicators of wall damage, including wall leaning or bowing, cracks, holes and black mold on interior walls. Afterward, landlords should perform a thorough audit of the exterior walls and foundation because certain wall issues may be an indicator of a foundation problem.

Dealing with Doors and Windows

Exterior doors and windows should be in excellent condition, which requires proper installation, regular maintenance, sealing air leaks, etc. Landlords are legally obligated to deal with any window and door repairs, but tenants can also take part in keeping them in great condition. Tenants should check whether there are any air leaks that may be causing energy and heat loss in their homes. They can even apply some draught-proof strips onto the leaks if they want to be more pro-active tenants. Afterward, they can ask their landlords to deduct the invested amount from their rent.

Mending the Roof

A properly installed and maintained roof is essential for creating a comfortable living environment for tenants. If a roof is leaking, it can affect other areas of a property, including both the interior and the exterior. Landlords are responsible for fixing any roof issues while tenants should be mindful of possible damage indicators. Fortunately, roof repairs are one of the most manageable problems, especially when addressed early on. Instead of renovating the entire roof, landlords can conduct partial reroofing and fix only the damaged areas. This may simply entail replacing a few broken or missing shingles.
However, it’s crucial that landlords obtain all the necessary equipment to ensure their safety. They don’t have to buy every piece of equipment because it can require a sizable amount of money. Instead, they can, for instance, opt for a reliable scaffolding rental service, which is a safe, dependable and cost-effective solution for occasional remodeling projects.

Dealing with Exterior Lighting

When it comes to exterior lighting, this is tenants’ and landlords’ shared responsibility. Landlords should navigate electrical repairs with their tenants, which includes outdoor lighting. Typically, tenants are responsible for minor tasks, such as replacing the exterior bulbs while landlords should tackle the installation or replacement of lighting fixtures. Of course, if tenants damage the outdoor lighting fixtures, landlords may require them to deal with this problem.

Maintaining the Garden

When renting their properties, landlords should appeal to their prospective tenants. This often includes boosting the curb appeal of their properties, which requires them to spruce up their gardens. Once tenants move in, they’ll be the ones spending time in their outdoor areas, so it’s their responsibility to mow the lawns, trim the bushes, pull out weeds, etc. However, there are certain tasks that are still up to landlords. For instance, landlords are required to fix the fence or pave the driveway. In addition, if tenants want to make any changes to the garden design, it’s essential that they discuss them with their landlords and ask for their permission.

Cleaning and Fixing the Gutters

When it comes to gutter problems, they are typically landlords’ responsibility. Landlords should regularly check their rental properties’ gutters and repair faulty or loose ones. However, tenants may also clean the gutters once in a while, especially if they want to be more active in maintaining the properties that are currently their homes.

Tackling exterior repairs and structural problems is essential for keeping a rental property in excellent condition. Therefore, tenants should always inform their landlords about any possible issues while landlords should address them as soon as possible. 

The following blog post was contributed by Lucas Bergman.