Misunderstandings over responsibilities and expectations can deteriorate the relationship you have with your tenants. As a Cleveland rental property owner, you need to be sure you understand your own role in providing a safe and habitable home. You’ll also need to communicate to your tenants what you expect from them.
Most landlords and tenants understand their major responsibilities: keeping the home habitable and paying rent, for example. But there are a lot of grey areas that can lead to confusion if they’re not discussed openly and addressed in the lease agreement.
Let’s take a look at what your responsibilities are as a landlord and what you should have your tenants take care of when they live in your home.
Cleveland Landlord Responsibilities
In Cleveland, landlords must provide and maintain a rental home that’s safe, habitable, and free from any defects or hazards. In general, this means you’ll have to provide:
- Access to electricity and heat.
- Plumbing, including hot water.
- Windows and doors that open, close, and lock.
- Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
That’s not a comprehensive list, rather a starting point.
Maintenance must be responded to immediately, especially when issues such as heat or water are involved. If you don’t repair the problem right away, your tenants could attempt to take care of it themselves or withhold their rent. You don’t want that.
Cleveland Tenant Responsibilities
Tenants are required to pay rent on time, follow the terms of the lease agreement, and take care of minor issues around the property while they are living there. This includes changing light bulbs when they burn out, changing the air filters regularly, reporting maintenance issues that are needed, and keeping the property clean and functioning.
Your tenants are also responsible for any damage that they or their guests cause. If they damage your property by abusing, neglecting, or misusing it, they need to pay those associated repairs costs. Always document the condition of your home before tenants move in. Then, you’ll clearly be able to see if there was any damage after they move out, and you’ll be able to charge the security deposit accordingly.
Cleveland Lease Agreements
Your lease agreement is the best place for you to list responsibilities.
This is where you should stipulate who is responsible for utilities. It will usually be the tenant, and your lease will require that the tenant sets up utility accounts in their name.
If you have a pool, you’ll want to note whether the tenant takes care of the pool cleaning or if you have a professional service to manage that. It’s the same with landscaping. Make sure your lease references who is responsible for the care and maintenance of the lawn. It can be the tenant, or if you’re worried your tenant won’t care for the yard properly, hire a landscaping service and include the cost in your rental amount.
Keep the lines of communication open with your tenants so they are comfortable asking questions when they’re not sure if something is their responsibility while living in your property.
We can help you navigate the rental process at your Cleveland rental property and ensure all responsibilities are outlined in the lease agreement. When you’re ready to talk about how we can help, please contact us at IIP Management. We work with owners in the Greater Cleveland area.