Apartment Repairs: Who’s Responsible?
For tenants, property owners, and property managers alike, it’s one of the most vexing questions: who’s responsible when something goes wrong? When a repair is needed, the tenant and landlord wonder who to call, and—equally to the point—who will be on the hook for the inevitable bill that follows. Since there’s a lot of contradictory advice online, some of it contradictory (or worse), we thought it best to draw on our experience in Rockford area rental property management and address this concern once and for all.
Apartment Repairs: When the Landlord is Responsible
The landlord or property manager has many responsibilities to their tenants. The rental property must be habitable, meaning that furnace or boiler problems, structural issues, damage caused by water, mold, or pests, and problems in buildings’ common areas are their responsibility. The landlord is also responsible for items that came with the apartment, which typically includes items like the stove, refrigerator, and plumbing fixtures, though these legal and contractual obligations can be included among other property management services
Protecting Your Rights and Property as a Property Owner
Put it in writing. All of it, since ambiguity isn’t your friend or your tenants’. Spelling out your rights and responsibilities, and your tenants’ as well, will better protect you and them alike. We also suggest a quick response to any tenant issues, not only as an added layer of protection but as a means of retaining your best people. Superior Realtors and Rental Properties can help you to draft a lease that provides that protection, and follow it up with property maintenance and repair services that keep everyone happy.
Apartment Repairs: When the Tenant is Responsible
So what is the tenant’s responsibility? Well, if it came with you, it’s your responsibility. So if you installed a window air conditioner that doesn’t work, you’re responsible for its repair. The same is true of items like the microwave, your cable or satellite, internet, or larger items you may have installed like a washer or dryer. You’re also responsible for the damage caused by those items — even if it’s not your apartment that takes the damage. And repairs caused by your neglect or abuse are your responsibility even if it’s an item that would otherwise be the landlord’s problem.
Protecting Your Rights and Property as a Tenant
Most landlords, and nearly every property manager—Superior Realtors and Rental Properties included—will do their best to respond quickly to tenant issues. Your safety and comfort are as important to us as they are to you.
With that being said, some issues will take longer to address than others. If a specific part, or a skilled tradesman, is needed for a repair and the demand outstrips availability, things can take a bit longer than normal. We understand the frustration, but there are things you should, and should not do.
- Do understand your rights and responsibilities under your lease. Not sure what a specific section or clause means? Call us and we’ll be happy to put it in layman’s terms.
- Do file a resident maintenance request immediately. We can’t fix what we don’t know is broken, and there are few things more discouraging for us and you alike than a small repair that balloons into a major problem.
- Do get renter’s insurance. We cannot be held responsible for damage caused to your belongings by another tenant’s carelessness.
- Do document issues with other tenants. There are sometimes limits to what we can do as a property manager, but when it comes to protecting life and property, we prefer to be safe than sorry—and we can have difficult conversations so you don’t have to.
- Do not, however, withhold rent because of a repair that doesn’t happen as quickly as you’d like.
Rental Property Management in Rockford, IL
As a property management company, we walk a tightrope daily. After all, we have to look out for property owners, but we have responsibilities to your tenants, who are our tenants too. So no matter which side of the table you sit on, call us with any questions you may have, and Superior Realtors and Rental Properties
will do all we can to set things right.