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Basic Rental Property Maintenance: Who Does What?

Dearborn Tenant Replacing a Battery in the Smoke DetectorAs a Dearborn property owner, it is essential to know who is responsible for what in terms of basic rental property maintenance. To keep your rental property in excellent condition and profitable, it’s focal to have a proactive property maintenance system in place. This maintenance may be completed by you or by a service technician. Though, there are numerous small maintenance tasks that you can and should expect your tenant to carry out. Here are a number of the most common rental property maintenance tasks and who is largely responsible for each one:

Clogged toilets.  If a toilet becomes clogged, it is regularly the tenant’s responsibility to remove the blockage. At any rate, there may be exceptions, for instance, if the blockage is caused by plumbing concerns unrelated to the tenant’s use. In such a case, you would maybe need to handle the repairs yourself or call a professional.

Broken windows. If a window is broken, it could most certainly be either the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to repair or replace the window. It has something to do with the fact that the responsibility for window replacement lies with the cause of the breakage. If the window was broken due to tenant negligence, they should pay to replace it. But on the other hand, if a window is damaged due to severe weather or other incidents out of a tenant’s control, the property owner is responsible for repairing it. Take into consideration that this may be a security issue; mitigation is the key here.

Lightbulbs. Usually, tenants are responsible for replacing lightbulbs in their rental homes. It has something to do with the fact that almost all light fixtures are considered part of the tenant’s living space.

Carpeting and flooring. When you talk about the cleanliness of flooring, this would be a tenant’s responsibility.  If the flooring turns out to be defective or worn out, then the responsibility mostly falls to the Dearborn property manager. This happens because these are features of the property that see a lot of wear and tear over time. With that said, in certain cases, tenants may be responsible for damage to carpeting or flooring. Then, the tenant would need to pay for the repairs.

Batteries in smoke and CO detectors. Smoke and CO detectors are crucial for keeping a rental property safe. The batteries in these devices should be consistently tested and replaced on demand. In certain situations, state law determines whether it is the landlord’s or the tenant’s responsibility to replace the batteries. Irrespective of with whom the responsibility lies, as a landlord, you should be regularly checking and replacing batteries two times per year.

Air filters.  Air filters help keep the air in a rental property clean and free of pollutants. In many cases, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to replace the air filters. But on the flip side, different properties have air filter systems that tenants cannot simply access and change themselves. if indeed this is the case in your rental property, it is your responsibility to warrant that your air filters are changed regularly.

When assigning maintenance tasks to your tenants, it’s critical to integrate clear language clarifying all responsibilities in your lease. This will help to evade any misconceptions or disagreements down the road. By grasping well who is responsible for what in terms of rental property maintenance, you can keep your property in excellent condition and elude any potential legal problems.


Rental property maintenance can be tedious as well as time-consuming, particularly if you have to always call upon your tenant and check whether your tenant is fulfilling their responsibilities. But Real Property Management Metro Detroit can help. We are experts in single-family rental property management, and we can take care of all maintenance for you. Contact us online to learn more information related to our quality services.

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