What Are Some Of The Key Landlord Responsibilities And Duties? | Checklist

  • By: Peter Parker
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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Being a landlord is a promising way to earn extra income. However, the duties of a landlord do not end with finding tenants and collecting rent every month.

A landlord has to fulfill many responsibilities and duties to be successful in the business. He often has to wear many caps such as dispute resolver, repairman, negotiator, etc. to address his responsibilities as a landlord. 

The federal, state and local housing laws mandate many responsibilities for landlords including maintaining the property to be fit for the tenants, following the health and safety codes, and safekeeping the security deposits of the tenants.

Landlords must be aware of their responsibilities and duties to safeguard themselves and their properties. 

Landlords’ duties and responsibilities may seem daunting, but here is a simple checklist to help you understand them without a legal degree. 

What are some key landlord responsibilities? | Checklist

The first and foremost responsibility of a landlord is to provide a safe and habitable house for the tenants to call home. This responsibility applies to all the landlords leasing residential properties.

Here are the specific responsibilities of the landlord to make the property habitable. 

1. Ensuring the home is secure

The property should be structurally sound to provide a stable roof over the head of the inhabitants. To ensure that the property is sound and secure, it should meet all the building codes of the city, state, and country.  

Landlord responsibility for tenant safety also includes 

  • Maintaining the locks of all the doors and windows in a working condition. You have to change the locks every time you rent to a new tenant. 
  • Make sure that all the emergency exits are not blocked and common areas are well lit.
  • Supervising hired personnel working on the property such as plumbers, electricians, housekeeping staff, and other third-party contractors.
  • Conducting proper background checks on prospective tenants to make sure that you are not renting out to people, who may not only damage your property but also disturb the neighborhood. 

2. Ensuring Access to Necessities

In order to be habitable, the house should have access to all the basic necessities of life such as heating, cooling, clean drinking water, etc. The landlord should ensure that the house has

  • Continuous supply of hot and cold water
  • Well functioning roof and strong exterior walls to protect the inhabitants from the forces of nature
  • A safe electrical system with functioning lights 
  • Heating and cooling systems to maintain the right temperature inside the house
  • Well-placed bins for collection and safe disposal of garbage
  • Staircases, floors, and railings that are safe and well-maintained
  • Good ventilation with proper windows and doors in working condition

3. Ensuring the property is free from hazards

The landlord has the responsibility to ensure tenant safety. The house should not pose threats to people living in it.

As a landlord, you have to make sure that there are no hazards for tenants. Safety systems such as fire detectors, smoke detectors, security systems, etc. must be installed before listing the property for rent. 

4. Ensuring that the house is pest-free

The U.S housing laws mandate that it is the duty of the landlord to hand over a clean and pest-free property to the tenants.

The premises must be free from garbage and vermin including all the creepy crawlies that damage the property and cause health problems for humans and pets.

If there is a pest infestation such as bed bugs, roaches, etc. you have to get the pest-control treatment done.  

5. Ensuring the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment

The tenant has a right to “quiet enjoyment” of the home. To respect the tenant’s privacy, you should not enter the home without advance notice.

You should notify the tenant at least 24 hours in advance and take his permission to visit the property. However, in case of emergencies, you can enter the property without notice. 

The landlord is also responsible to make sure that the tenants do not disturb the peace and privacy of other residents in the locality.

The rental agreement must clearly state that the tenants must respect the rights of other residents in the neighborhood and restrain from taking up activities that can disturb others. 

6. Ensuring the home is well maintained

The landlord has to maintain the property well to keep it clean and habitable for the tenants. Unless the lease document mentions otherwise, it is your duty to maintain the property in a habitable condition.

The tenants have a right to withhold rent and file a complaint with the relevant authorities if you do not respond to their requests for repair and maintenance. 

You have to ensure that all the tenant requests for repairs and maintenance are promptly attended to.

If the repairs are not done in time, it could pose a safety hazard to the client and exposes you to legal consequences. 

Financial responsibilities 

Apart from fulfilling the warranty of habitability, a landlord also has some financial responsibilities. Renting houses in return for rent is a business, the house is the asset and the tenant is your customer.  

Like any other business, the landlord has the responsibility to maintain the mortgage, pay taxes and utility bills on time, and take appropriate insurance cover for the property. 

The landlord also has the responsibility for the safekeeping of the security deposit.

The amount should be parked in a different account and returned to the tenant along with the interest earned when they vacate the property. The landlord can legally deduct a portion of the security deposit for 

  • Outstanding rent 
  • Repairs and maintenance other than normal wear and tear
  • Stolen appliances

However, it is your duty to give a detailed statement to the tenant stating the reasons why the amount is deducted. 

Responsibility to notify tenants about lease renewal 

The landlord should provide ample notice to the tenants if you plan to not renew the lease.

The notice period varies from state to state, however, it is a common practice to give at least 60 days’ notice to provide ample time for the tenants to look for a new house. 

Providing documents to the tenant

It is the responsibility of the landlord to provide all the relevant documents to the tenants.

You must provide a copy of the rental lease agreement, written notice of your business name and address, and a copy of the rent receipt. All these documents must be given free of charge to the tenant.  

Notifying the tenant before increasing the rent 

The landlord can increase the rent of the property only after the expiry of the lease term.

You must notify the tenant about the rent increase at least one full rental period in advance, that is, if you collect rent monthly, you have to inform them about the rent hike at least one month in advance. 

It is also your responsibility to ensure that your house does not fall under the restrictions of the Rent control regulations. You can also not increase the rent if your property is a subsidized unit. 

Landlords are responsible to provide a clean, safe and habitable home to the tenant.

Though the specific duties and responsibilities of a landlord vary from state to state. There are some basic responsibilities of a landlord that are common across the country.

You must stay updated with the federal, state, and local housing laws to ensure that you fulfill all the responsibilities and stay out of legal trouble. 

Commercial lease landlord responsibilities

A commercial lease is an agreement that agrees on the use of the commercial property for a business for a fixed period of time, in exchange for rent.

Commercial properties include office spaces, shops, restaurants, etc. a commercial property should be used only for commercial activity and not for residential purposes. 

The responsibilities of a commercial lease landlord are different from those of a residential lease landlord.

The commercial lease should contain a detailed description of the responsibilities of the landlord to avoid future disputes with the tenant. 

Here are some responsibilities of a commercial lease landlord

  • Ensuring that the property meets all the state and city building codes.
  • Ensuring that the building is structurally strong and taking up structural repairs of foundations, roof, exterior walls, flooring, etc. 
  • Meeting the prescribed energy efficiency standards.
  • Maintaining the property in good condition. 
  • Maintaining the basic fire, gas, and electrical safety standards.
  • Providing a decent workspace with reasonable temperature, adequate ventilation and lighting, clean drinking water, and toilets. 
  • Maintaining the common areas of the building such as exteriors, parking spaces, stairwells, etc. 
  • Safe installation and maintenance of the furniture and fittings owned by the landlord.
  • Protecting everyone inside the building from the risk of asbestos.

Unlike a residential lease, the tenant has more responsibilities in a commercial lease.

However, it is the duty of the landlord to ensure that the property is structurally strong and provide a clean, safe, and well-maintained working space to the tenant.