Every person who is a landlord must be aware that they have certain responsibilities to their tenants. Tenants have rights in nearly every state in the United States and landlords must be careful to uphold these rights or be held accountable by the local tenant boards where their property is located or by the municipal government.
Landlord responsibilities are not that many but they are very important. Each landlord is responsible for keeping their property in good repair. This means that they are obligated to repair and maintain their property and obey all municipal laws, health and safety standards. They are responsible for all repairs even if the tenant knew about a specific problem before moving in to the property. Tenants are responsible only for damage they or their guests cause to the property.
Landlord responsibilities also include providing a working smoke detector in each rental unit. Tenants are responsible for maintaining working batteries in their smoke detector once they have moved in. In some municipalities, landlords are also responsible for providing a working carbon monoxide detector. Landlords should check with their municipal authorities to see if they are required to provide a carbon monoxide detector where they live.
Landlord responsibilities include maintaining all common areas of the property. This includes any areas that are shared by more than one tenant such as hallways, yards, parking lots and courtyards. They are also responsible for snow removal from driveways and walkways. This is a particularly important aspect of a landlord’s responsibilities in areas where there is a lot of annual snowfall. This also pertains to parking lots.
Landlords are also responsible for seeing that garbage is removed regularly from the property. If it is not removed by the city sanitation department, landlords must make special arrangements to have it removed from the property.
Other landlord responsibilities include providing vital services such as access to hot and cold running water and, unless the tenant is responsible for it, heat like natural gas. A landlord is prohibited from shutting these services off even if the tenant is in arrears with their rent. These services may only be shut off on a temporary basis when repairs are necessary to them.
The landlord must provide heat in the dwelling from September 1st to June 15th. During that time frame, the minimum temperature is 72º. Some towns and cities set additional requirements and landlord responsibilities dictate that each landlord know what those are and adhere to them.
Each landlord is responsible for providing a copy of the lease to each tenant. The lease must include the landlord’s legal name and address. If a tenant requests receipts, the landlord is obligated to provide them to him or her at no charge.
These landlord responsibilities are mandated by state and municipal law and no landlord may change them with any type of verbal or written agreement with a tenant. Any landlord that includes any conditions in a lease that contradict these rules is in violation of the law and can be prosecuted. The lease is also invalid.