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 Member Update
What happens if you break this promise? That is a contract technically – when your tenant signs a lease, it is a two-way street. They will pay to live there on the condition that you (and they, really) keep it safe and livable. Breaking this lease is asking for trouble in both a legal and financial sense. Consider tenants your customers: if you do not keep the customers happy, they will do one of two things, hire a lawyer or leave. You will be lucky if they just leave, but what good is a business if you have no customers?
New Landlord’s To-Do List By Nicole Seidner
iving into a new venture is exciting. The world is your oyster, ready to deliver unto you its pearls! People told you that being a landlord is a passive income – people move in, live their lives, and each month they
promised all repairs to be attended to in a timely manner.
pay you. How great! How easy!
What is a landlord responsible for? The job title is not limited to just collecting rent. For one huge umbrella term, landlords need to ensure that the property is ‘habitable.’ Black mold? You must fix it. Heater broken in the Winter? You must fix it. Stairs are crashed through? You must fix it. That does not mean you need to take a class in expert- craftsmanship, but you do need to have the will and way to get it done. Whether you are hiring someone or doing it all yourself, that’s all up to you, as long as at the end of the day, your tenant could survive at your property long term.
This includes and is not limited to:
• Water is working, no leaky faucets and functioning sewer access
• Locking exterior doors • No broken windows
• A properly sealed roof • All wiring is safe
• Gas is safe • No pests
Say there is a problem – the roof has begun to leak, with water dripping into the home. If left alone, it could cause water damage or mold. This needs to be fixed as soon as possible. As a landlord, you have
Well, not quite. Monsieur Thénardier, who might jeer about all his fees that build his fortune (and later lack thereof), might say ‘everyone loves a landlord, everybody’s bosom friend’ but in case the title of Les Miserable didn’t tip you off, he’s not to be trusted. As a landlord, the passive income is not always so passive.
Ah, yes, the tricky part. Do you need to fix the things that your tenant damaged? It depends. If your tenant has a pet and the animal chewed on the baseboards, that’s the tenant’s responsibility, as it is their job to keep their pet in check. If the tenant broke the built- in microwave, that is on them, as well. For Example:
• Small Items such as bathroom mirrors that they broke
• Stains that they have caused
• Upkeep with own waste and garbage • Maintaining plumbing cleanliness
These are all smaller issues that do not directly affect the rental unit’s habitability and were directly caused by the tenant’s action, such as refusal to train a dog or decision to yank a microwave door. That can be a guiding factor, but it may be best to CONSULT A LAWYER to see where the fine line of yours or theirs is when it comes to responsibility. If it is theirs, you are in luck. While not affecting habitability, still, these problems do hurt the aesthetic and re-renting capability, so you’re going to want those things fixed but at least in a perfect world, your tenant would be the one to pay for it.
On the bright side, finding out what is or is not your responsibility should not be an insurmountable investigation. That is why we are here to help, and along the way, everyone can learn something new!
 Nicole Seidner is a writer that specializes in creative nonfiction. She focuses on research-based writings with the intent to educate those in the rental housing industry. Her goal is to ensure (while factually correct) her writing can entertain and intrigue readers at the same time. This article has been contributed by Contemporary Information Corporation (CIC). CIC is a preferred tenant screening service provider for the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. For more information, go to

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