Landlords have to make sure their rental homes are habitable so renters can stay happy and hopefully choose to renew their leases. You also need to maintain your property because of the duties outlined by Virginia landlord-tenant law. As a property owner, you’re responsible for completing property maintenance tasks.

Keeping up with your unit’s maintenance requires being aware of your responsibilities. If you’re consistent with maintaining your property, you end up with fewer repairs, rewarding you with more rental income to keep. How does maintaining your property lead to more profit?

Here are three things that benefit landlords financially in maintaining their rentals:

  1. Slower wear and tear: When you have the initiative to perform routine property inspections and get damages fixed, your furnishing, property, and appliances continue to be well-kept, limiting typical damage caused by normal wear and tear.
  2. Higher rental value: Proper renovations and maintenance increases the value of your unit which can result in more prospective renters desiring to be residents
  3. More income in your pocket: Fewer damages means you get to keep the money that would have gone to repair fees

As time passes, more and more residents will occupy your property so it’s a great practice to conduct regular property maintenance to avoid the heavy costs of wear and tear.

A property owner sitting on a white couch reviewing a lease

What Are the Property Maintenance Duties of a Landlord?

As a landlord, you’re expected to conduct the following tasks:

1. Provide Trash Bins

A healthy environment means avoiding issues like pest infestation. Offering clearly marked and easily accessible trash receptacles leads to fewer problems for the residents. When you distribute trash cans, renters are encouraged to dispose of their trash properly.

Things to consider when providing garbage containers:

  1. The number of tenants you have.
  2. The frequency of garbage collection in your area.

Once you know these important points, you can easily figure out how many trash bins you need for your rental property, including their sizes.

2. Follow Building Codes

Part of your responsibility in maintaining your rental is to also be aware of and comply with building codes. The safety of your tenants should be prioritized so the rental must be structurally sound. All home systems, from plumbing to electricity need to be working.

Landlords are also required to set up smoke and carbon dioxide detectors for the renter’s safety. Building codes also involve preventing common home issues like mold and pests.

Every rental property or unit also has a designated number of residents as a safety precaution. Landlords should check that the number of tenants in the rental matches the number stated in the lease.

A real estate agent and potential homebuyer inside of a modern kitchen

3. Focus on Maintaining Common Areas

If you own a multi-family property, there may be shared areas to take care of. Common areas are often the landlord’s responsibility to keep clean. Periodically check that the lighting is working and inspect the stairs and banisters to prevent accidents and injuries.

4. Schedule Property Repairs

You want to offer your tenants a comfortable environment so any property damage should be attended to immediately. Conduct regular property inspections to catch issues early. Practicing preventive maintenance means you spend less on repairs and keeps your renter satisfied and loyal.

You should establish a team of trusted vendors you can contact when an emergency comes up or concerns are raised by the renters. Having a team of repair specialists can be reassuring and provides you with peace of mind, especially when there’s an emergency.

5. Check on Important Home Systems

No matter how attractive your rental property looks, if there are problems with the pipes or electrical system, it can still be classified as uninhabitable. Make sure the vital home systems are fully functional before renting the property to tenants.

You should also be attentive to the due date of utility payments to avoid experiencing any service interruption. If the renters are in charge of bill payments, check that they’re paying on time so these problems can be avoided.

Exterior of three houses against a blue sky

What Are the Tenant’s Maintenance Duties?

Many tenants aren’t aware that they’re also required to perform maintenance tasks. It’s always a good idea to include what they’re responsible for in the lease agreement. Typically, tenants are required to fulfill the following tasks:

1. Keep the Rental Property Clean

Tenants need to keep their rental property clean and properly dispose of trash. Basic cleanliness helps everyone avoid issues with pests and mold.

2. Avoid Blocking Emergency Exits

Having access to an emergency exit is required for all rental properties. Sometimes though, renters can unknowingly place barriers to these important exit points. Renters need to make sure to remove anything that blocks access to these important exits. It’s important to check for things like this during property inspections.

3. Adhere to Building and Housing Codes

Like landlords, renters are also required to comply with building and housing codes. For example, they can’t allow new people to stay in the property for an extended period of time without getting approval from the landlord first. They should also keep up with their duty of taking reasonable care of the unit to delay wear and tear.

4. Avoid Disturbing Potential Lead Paint Hazards

If the rental was built before 1978, potential lead paint issues can come with the unit. This can be a health hazard. That’s why landlords are required to disclose this information. Renters should try to prevent any potential lead paint disturbances by asking their landlord before doing things like drilling holes to hang picture frames or repainting the walls.

Bottom Line

It’s important to understand the duties that landlords and tenants have to keep their rental properties safe and clean. If you don't want to worry about property maintenance, having to do frequent inspections, or getting calls from tenants in the middle of the night when a pipe bursts, you should partner with a property management company.

Vesta Property Management is the #1 property management company in the Front Royal area. We’re the best choice when it comes to property maintenance because Vesta is owned by a contractor! We have an in-house maintenance team ready to respond to any problem, any time. Contact Vesta Property Management today to learn more!