Legal and Optional Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

Legal and Optional Tenant Maintenance Responsibilities

You've just purchased a rental property in Dothan, Alabama and you're wondering what comes next. Does your job stop when you've created a solid leasing strategy and secured tenants?

Landlords have an obligation to keep up with property maintenance in most situations. Do tenants share any of that burden? Do they have legal obligations to maintain your property during their lease?

Tenants do have some obligation to take care of your property, but not in the ways you may expect. Read on to learn more about who is responsible for maintaining a property.

Landlord Obligations to Maintain Their Property

Alabama state law puts the majority of maintenance responsibilities on rental property owners. It's your job to keep your property safe and up to code.

It's also your job to field and promptly address tenant maintenance requests. In fact, a tenant can move out without repercussions if their landlord fails to address a maintenance request within 14 days of receiving it.

While state law doesn't specify what kinds of maintenance jobs fall on the landlord, you should handle anything involving:

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical wiring
  • Structural damage (e.g., roofing, walls, windows, etc.)
  • Additional utilities like gas lines

A great landlord will go above and beyond legal requirements and create a great maintenance strategy that improves tenant relations.

Tenant Obligations to Prevent Damage to Your Property

As we mentioned already, you should not expect tenants to tackle maintenance issues on their own. Even if a tenant offers to take care of something like a leaky pipe or hole in the roof, you shouldn't allow them to proceed. Not only could they end up causing more harm than good but if something goes awry, you could face tenant liability.

Tenants are responsible for general upkeep. For example, they have an obligation to keep your property reasonably clean. If you want them to handle things like mowing the lawn or cleaning the pool, make sure to say so in your lease.

Tenants are also obligated to prevent unreasonable damage to your property. What constitutes unreasonable damage can be hazy, but includes examples such as:

  • Broken windows
  • Significant stains or tears on the carpet
  • Damage to appliances caused by obvious misuse
  • Damage resulting from neglect
  • Intentional damage or damage caused by illegal activities
  • Damage that violates your lease agreement

In these instances, landlords can exercise a few legal actions, which may include eviction. If the damage is discovered after a tenant moves out, the landlord can use their security deposit to cover repairs.

Get Help with Property Maintenance in Dothan

Most property maintenance obligations fall on Dothan landlords. Not only should you meet legal standards to keep your property safe, but you should take extra steps to make your property desirable. A responsive landlord can ensure positive tenant relations.

Are you struggling to keep up with property maintenance or lease enforcement? PMI is dedicated to providing Dothan landlords with the exact property management services they need to succeed, from maintenance oversight to tenant communication and beyond. Contact us to find out more about how we can help.