It’s a question we get many times with our tenants, property owners and agents alike, “Who is responsible for this?” First and foremost everything is set in writing in the Executed Lease Agreement (ELA) which tenants sign before moving in to a property. However, when something breaks down or specific issues arise, things can become stressful and confusing. Here are three common examples of issues that may arise and who is responsible.
1. Air filters. Living in the desert in summer is dusty and hot. Changing air conditioning filters monthly is necessary, and filters are the tenant’s responsibility. Air conditioning units do break down during our hot summers, and it’s usually obvious when it’s due to heat, the age of the unit or neglect (specifically, when the unit has worked too hard because the filter hasn’t been changed over a long period of time). If the cause isn’t due to negligence by the tenant, then the landlord covers the cost.
2. HOA fees. Regular fees are typically paid by the landlord. If there is a violation and a fine is assessed, the type of violation determines who is responsible. For instance, if the ELA specifies that the landlord maintains the landscaping and there is a fine for weeds on the property, the landlord is responsible. If a fine occurs because of a tenant’s guest or pet (like a barking dog), then the fine would be the tenant’s responsibility.
3. Door locks. If the tenant wants the door locks changed for any reason, it is the tenant’s responsibility to cover the cost. Typically when asked, the landlord or property management company will either refer a locksmith, or will schedule a time to have the locks replaced and charge the cost to the tenant. It is important to note that if a tenant ever feels unsafe, he or she doesn’t have to wait on the landlord. Tenants can change locks as long as they provide copies of the new keys to the property manager.
When in doubt, check your lease agreement. Still have questions? Give us a call at 480.270.5355 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read on for more tips: Small Claims Court for the Real Estate Owner.