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Maintenance repairs Tenants vs. Owners – Who should pay?

Maintenance repairs Tenants vs. Owners

Who needs to take responsibility? 

Let’s face it, the moment you purchased a house you singed up for responsibility you hope you never have to worry about. Guess what… even your home inspection prior to purchasing can’t tell you that you’re about to experience a septic disaster or appliances expired from over usage. We take preventative measures to try and avoid those outcomes but really, you just don’t know the future of a used appliance that someone was rough on or what those pipes really look like underground.

Renting out your house or hiring a property manager doesn’t remove that responsibility away from you, it is still your property and you still own it 100 %.  Lets take a look and sort out any confusion when it comes to who may be responsible for what.


Each and every property owner has a different reason why they choose to rent out their house and all of the reasons come with consequence and reward.

An uninformed property owner is someone that expects to rent out their home and receive it in better condition than they left it in. This just simply cannot be the outcome of what you’ll receive. There must be account for wear and tear over the years, especially if you fail to complete recommended preventative maintenance by your property manager.

An experienced and informed property owner will accept that even though a renter is borrowing their furnace, it still belongs to them and that includes the expenses.

Let’s be real, say your property manager reports to you that the tenant indicated that the AC no longer works. Do you A) get mad at the property manger for being the messenger and for asking what you would like to do. B) get mad at the property manager that the tenant over used the AC unit and they should pay for it or C) know that this could have happened even while you lived in the house and that AC unit’s have an expiration of life.

No body wants to have to pay for a new AC unit especially if you don’t even get to use it but a little side note, that’s why they choose to be tenants instead of home owners in most cases.

So here are some tips on how to understand your responsibility vs the tenant’s responsibility.

They chose to be the renter, not the home owner, that gives them the right to use your furnace and not replace it when it goes out.

Bad weather tore down trees, one landed on your roof and wind blew down your fence. They still make additional insurance policy’s and home warranty’s even if you don’t live there.

Those are just a few examples to remind you that you still own the property and all that comes with it even if you choose to rent it out to a tenant. Some other conditions to consider when renting out any property making a list of all of your appliances and checking the age of them, asking a technician the life expectancy of those appliances, furnaces, toilets, etc and preparing your next 12 months of expenses. If you plan on renting out your house that was built 30 years ago and it has the same water heater, furnace, and fridge you may want to set aside those first months rent to prepare for replacements. These tips just reality and just like changing oil in your car you should expect to do the same with your house.

Avoiding law suits, respect the legal rights tenants have and avoid having to pay added cost is really how you should look at any maintenance request. Know your local laws when it comes to refusal to make repairs and what is and isn’t allowed.

Remember that the best practice is always keeping up on regular maintenance and being prepared to make appropriate repairs and or replacements.  Find the more simple, less cost, solutions such as making sure the furnace filter is always changed when needed. Making a list of all of your appliances and getting a tune up from a professional and make note of the age on all of the potentially replaceable items, such as; dishwasher, fridge, oven, furnace/AC, swamp cooler, toilets, sinks, sprinklers, and even washer & dryer. Once you acknowledge the age of these items and getting a professionals opinion and recommendation for future work that is needed or replacement timeframes can help you plan for the repairs to come.

Taking the preventative action will make you and your renter more appreciative!

Written by: Alyssa Anderson

Real Property Management Salt Lake City

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