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Landlord or Tenant? Understanding Who Is in Charge of Rental Property Maintenance in San Diego - Article banner

Landlords and tenants each have their own unique set of responsibilities when it comes to maintaining a San Diego rental home. Sometimes, those responsibilities overlap, and there are also occasions where the accountability depends on the type of property you’re renting out and the specific expectations you have for your resident. 

The best way to avoid any confusion or conflict is by creating a specific lease agreement that clearly indicates which party needs to be responsible for each part of maintaining the property.

San Diego Landlord Responsibilities

A landlord’s most essential responsibility is to provide a property that is safe, habitable, and well-maintained. This begins before a tenant even moves in. Inspect the property while it is vacant to ensure everything works the way it should. Landlords are responsible for repairing and replacing anything that’s damaged or not working before the lease starts. It has been said and is true that “preventative maintenance is 100% of the time less expensive to repair than after-the-fact maintenance”.

Another responsibility at this point is cleanliness. Make sure the home is clean and ready for occupancy.

During the tenancy, landlords are required to maintain the home and everything inside of it. If there’s an issue with the hot water or the heat, a landlord must fix it promptly. When the washer stops working or the toilet starts running, the landlord is required to respond in a timely manner. Take care of these problems immediately to avoid any conflicts or disputes with your residents.

San Diego Tenant Responsibilities

Tenants in San Diego will be expected to pay rent on time, honor the lease agreement, and take care of minor issues around the home while they are residing there. You can require your residents to take care of minor repairs and replacements such as light bulbs, batteries, and air filters. Some landlords will require tenants to take care of pest control and lawn care.

Your tenants are responsible for any damage caused by accidents, abuse, or neglect. Property damage that’s caused by a tenant or a tenant’s guest must be paid for by the tenant. For example, when a cabinet door breaks because a child was swinging on it, that’s a tenant’s responsibility to fix. If there are pet stains or scratches on your hardwood floors, your tenant is responsible for that as well.

Documenting the condition of your home prior to the tenant taking occupancy is extremely important so you can easily identify damage at the end of a lease period.

Create a Strong San Diego Lease Agreement

fixing house lightsLease agreements are designed to protect your rights and those of your tenants.

This is the best place to keep a list of your responsibilities and your tenant’s responsibilities. It will make it easy for the tenants to refer to the conditions in the lease agreement when they’re wondering who is responsible for mowing the lawn or maintaining the roof. Your lease agreement must stipulate who is responsible for utilities and whether there are any fountain, swimming pool or landscaping responsibilities that land with the tenant. If you hire professional services for things like pools, landscaping, and pest control, the lease should also reference that.

We can help you think about what you should be prepared to maintain and what you can expect your residents to maintain. If you’d like to talk through this, please contact us at San Diego Residential Property Management.