In order to effectively maintain the condition and the value of your investment property, you need to make sure your tenants are working with you to take care of it. Landlords and tenants have a different set of responsibilities when it comes to maintaining rental property. Make sure all expectations are laid out before the lease is signed, and keep the lines of communication open.
Create a Strong Lease to Address Responsibilities
To avoid any confusion or excuses, make sure you’re using a strong lease that conforms to all state, local, and federal laws. You’ll want a lease that’s specific to Virginia, and legally enforceable here. Don’t download a template you find online without knowing whether it will work for your property. Get a lease from an attorney or an Ashburn property manager so it protects you and your property. Your lease should be detailed about who is responsible for which tasks. It should address everything from appliances to landscaping to emergencies. Discuss these lease clauses with your tenants so everyone is on the same page.
Landlord Responsibilities in Ashburn
The landlord is responsible for providing a safe, habitable home to tenants. This means you need to respond immediately to any maintenance issues. If the water heater bursts in the middle of the night and causes a flood, you need to be there with a plumber right away. If a tree crashes through the roof during a storm, you need to respond to your tenant’s call for help. Any loss of hot water, heat, or air conditioning constitutes an emergency, and these are your things to respond to and pay to fix.
Tenant Responsibilities in Ashburn
Tenants are generally responsible for maintaining the home in a clean and sanitary condition. They should also be expected to maintain the yard and lawn in a single-family home. However, you never know how interested or capable the tenants will be when it comes to landscaping. We always recommend that you hire a lawn service, and then add that cost to the rent. You won’t have to worry about the exterior being maintained, and the tenants will still meet their responsibilities by paying for the service.
Be smart when it comes to tenant responsibilities. Requiring them to change the air filters every month is reasonable, and they should be expected to do that. They can also change their own light bulbs and defrost a freezer if it becomes necessary. However, you don’t necessarily want them on a ladder, cleaning out the gutters of your property, even if you think it’s their responsibility.
It’s important that you are open and transparent with your tenants so they understand your expectations. Maybe you want them to trim the bushes and water the flowers, but you don’t expect them to lay fresh mulch. Talk them through this so they know how to maintain the home to your expectations. If they have any questions, they should feel comfortable asking you, and all parties should always refer to the lease when an agreement cannot be reached on who is responsible for a specific thing.
We work with tenants and landlords all the time, so if you’d like some help with Ashburn rental properties, please contact us at Castle Property Management. We’d be happy to talk to you.