Fall Maintenance Checklist for Tenants
With fall in full swing, it’s long overdue for savvy real estate investors to start considering their fall maintenance. However, maintaining a rental property can be hard work, and the responsibilities shouldn’t be left solely to the landlord. On the contrary, tenants also have a role to play in keeping their units in good working condition.
Are you a tenant looking to play a role in property maintenance? Do you wonder what tasks are necessary to complete this season? This article highlights the ultimate fall maintenance checklist for tenants.
Fall Maintenance Checklist for Tenants
● Weatherproof the Pipes
Fall is a great season to get a headstart on weatherproofing your pipes. Why wait for winter to come around and freeze your pipes when you can get ahead now and reduce tenant damage?
You can get material for insulation at any hardware store. Also, remember that pipes in colder rooms like the attic, basement, and cabinets are the most vulnerable. Alternatively, you can also keep the tap dripping to keep water flowing and avoid a freeze.
● Check Window and Door Seals
With the temperature dropping, you’re most likely spending more money on your heating bill. Cut yourself slack by checking your window and door seals for air drafts. These pockets of space allow cold air to enter and warm air to escape. In the long run, that would increase your electric bill. Thus, it would be wise to inspect the house for cracks and fill them with caulk.
● Test Emergency Systems
While a good landlord will always prioritize the safety of their tenants, you should still be proactive. For example, House fires typically hit their peak period during the fall and winter months. Thus, it would help if you made it a point to test your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Ensure that all alarms are correctly set and have enough batteries as well. You can also check other sensors while you’re at it.
● Do a General Cleanup
Another chore to add to your checklist is a general cleanup. While keeping the property sanitary at all times is crucial, you still have to be intentional about it. For example, you should thoroughly clean your garbage disposal to remove any solidified food and make the machine more efficient. Also, remember to take out the trash. The last thing you want is pests hiding from the cold burrowing in your home.
● Report Maintenance Issues
Finally, as a tenant, you are responsible for reporting maintenance issues to your landlord. You should call your landlord immediately if you notice a mold infestation, leaking pipe, or clogged toilet. If they’re unavailable, you can reach out to their representative. Most savvy landlords hire a property manager that can assist in protecting your rental from damage. Remember that failing to alert the landlord or property manager on time could lead to more damage, and the repair fees could come out of your pocket.
Importance of a Clear Lease Agreement About Repairs
● It Reduces the Chances of a Dispute
One of the most significant benefits of having an explicit lease agreement about repairs is that it reduces the chances of a dispute. It’s not uncommon for landlords and tenants to butt heads over who is responsible for certain repairs. However, a standard clause that both parties agree to beforehand lowers the chances of a dispute.
● It Protects Your Security Deposit
Most residential leases stipulate tenants pay a particular fund as a security deposit. Often the landlord is responsible for holding this fund and deducting fees for tenant damage when applicable. With a lease agreement, your landlord cannot indiscriminately spend your security deposit on major repairs or renovations.
● It Lets You Investigate the Terms of the Agreement
One of the tale-tell signs of a bad landlord is if they try to force you to sign an illegal lease. Certain repairs relating to the HVAC system, flooring, and significant landscaping are often in the property owner’s domain. Thus, if the landlord tries to completely absolve themselves from making any repairs, something shady is afoot. In such a scenario, you might want to take a step back and thoroughly investigate the terms of your agreement.
That’s a wrap for our fall maintenance checklist for tenants. With these chores taken care of, you should enjoy a smooth and safe season with minimal property damage and inconveniences. Weatherproofing your pipes, minor landscaping, and sealing air drafts are a few tasks to add to your list.
Also, if you have to make repairs, it would be in your best interest to have an explicit lease agreement with the property owner. It would be beneficial to have one in place to understand everyone’s responsibility and set a precedent for future repairs. If you’re not sure what the terms of your arrangement are, you can ask your landlord or the building’s property manager.