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March 5, 2018

In the world of rental properties, many of the boundaries dictating the scope of responsibilities between tenants and landlords tend to get smeared. So much so those unpleasant situations and even disputes that could have been easily averted may arise because one of the parties was unacquainted with their duties.

While tenants can rely on their landlords to tend to the majority of problems such as electrical complications and numerous other maintenance issues, they are not without their responsibilities for keeping the property up and running smoothly. Here is a quick guide that will help you discern between landlord or tenant responsibilities in a rental property.

Pest Control and General Cleanliness

If a pest infestation of any kind occurs, it is usually the duty of the landlord to take care of the problem. Likewise, the landlord is required to keep the property pest-free and sanitary until a new tenant moves in. With that said, the tenant has some responsibilities as well.

The tenant is required to maintain a state of overall cleanliness in and outside of the property in order to prevent infestations for the duration of their stay. In case the tenant failed to keep the property sanitary and an infestation occurs, the landlord will have the right to deduct the costs of extermination from the security deposit.

Appliance Maintenance

Appliance maintenance is a touchy subject among tenants and landlords because different scenarios might warrant different outcomes. Generally speaking, the landlord is responsible for regular appliance maintenance and checkups. The landlord is also to fix or replace an appliance that has run its course.

However, it is up to the tenant to use the appliances per the manufacturer’s instructions in a safe and responsible manner. If the tenant causes damage to the appliance directly, the repair costs might be deducted from the security deposit. It’s always a good idea to prompt the landlord to stick to a regular maintenance schedule to avoid any misunderstandings.

Heating, Plumbing, and Air Conditioning

Much like appliance maintenance, keeping the heating, plumbing and air conditioning systems operating properly is the responsibility of the landlord. Repairs should also be dealt with by the owner. However, the matter is not as cut-and-dry as it may seem.

While the tenant is not obliged to conduct serious repairs, they may be contractually obliged to use these fixtures responsibly, and even replace air filters as necessary. For instance, in Australia, landlords are required to fix and maintain the plumbing network. However, the tenant should call professional plumbers, such as Fix It Right Plumbing experts if there is an urgent problem or if the landlord is unavailable. If the repair was necessary due to negligence, the tenant is obliged to cover the expenses.

Landscaping and Property Exterior

Depending on the rules set up by the lease agreement, the landscaping and exterior maintenance responsibilities might fall on the landlord or the tenant. It is the landlord who will have the responsibility of keeping the landscape neat and tidy, per the county rules and regulations, in an unoccupied property.

The landlord might also be responsible for exterior maintenance unless the agreement dictates otherwise. However, it is the responsibility of the tenant to prevent any damage to these areas in order to avoid a deduction from the security deposit or a fine from the local governing bodies.

Waste and Toxins Management

Typically, the landlord will instruct tenants to keep a clean home and to dispose of the waste in a proper manner, such as using the right types of waste bags and keeping the exterior clean by not leaving any trash on the premises.

On the other hand, toxins management is the responsibility of the landlord. The owner is also required by law to inform the tenants if any hazardous elements are present on the property, such as asbestos, mold, or lead paint dust. Tenants will, however, have the responsibility of preventing any toxins from settling in during their stay by airing and cleaning the interior frequently.


Tenants and landlords can fall out quickly if the basic rules and responsibilities are not set in place. With these essential tips to guide you, you won’t have any problems maintaining the peace whether you are the tenant or the landlord of a rental property.

Author Bio: Cooper Klein is an entrepreneur with a degree in Marketing, based in Sydney. He’s interested in business and home decor. In order to spend more time with his family, Cooper decided to take a break, and he’s currently working from home as a blogger for Smooth Decorator and several other sites.

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