7 Landlords Responsibilities You Need to Know
Updated: May 19, 2022
As a landlord, you have many responsibilities that go along with your rental property. Some of them are required by law, and some are just best practices in maintaining a healthy and safe living environment for your tenants, which helps to preserve your investment as well as theirs.
Let’s take a look at 7 landlords responsibilities you need to know about, starting with the most important ones.
1) Don’t discriminate
According to state and federal law, landlords can’t discriminate against potential tenants on account of age, race, gender or sexual orientation. Additionally, landlords must make reasonable accommodations for potential tenants with disabilities.
That said, there are certain things that are out of bounds for discrimination: credit history (including bankruptcy), military status and religious beliefs—as long as those beliefs aren’t associated with a recognized hate group.
If you have any questions about whether or not something counts as discrimination in your state (and remember that your local laws will supersede federal ones), check out The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing – Tenants page at HUD.gov.
2) Provide heat and running water
This is one of the oldest and most basic landlord responsibilities—to make sure that your rental unit has heat and running water.
In some areas, landlords are required to provide hot water year-round; in others, they’re only required to supply heat during a certain timeframe.
For example, New York state law requires that landlords maintain a minimum of 68 degrees in both winter and summer months for apartment buildings with central heating systems. But it doesn’t matter what time of year it is: A landlord is responsible for providing reliable heat at all times.
3) Ensure your tenants are safe
Landlords are responsible for ensuring that their tenants are safe from fire, which means a quick call to your local municipality might be in order.
In some areas of North America, landlords also have specific obligations when it comes to safety and emergency exits. For example, Vancouver landlord laws require landlords to ensure emergency exits are clear at all times while Montreal landlord laws state that apartments must be properly heated.
Addressing such issues with your real estate agent or managing body can help make sure you’re compliant with regional landlord regulations, ultimately ensuring you have satisfied tenants who stay put for a while!
4) Keep your property in good condition
Your landlord has certain responsibilities, but what about you? It’s up to you to keep your home in good shape and ensure that it doesn’t become a burden for others.
Get ready for a few extra steps (and expenses) on top of your rent, and make sure you do everything possible to avoid fines or worse, eviction.
5) Tell new tenants about safety concerns
If you run a rental property, make sure you do your part to let tenants know about potential safety issues.
Many landlords don’t think much of it, but a fire extinguisher mounted in an obvious place and smoke detectors equipped with batteries can go a long way toward helping tenants feel safe.
This can reduce repair costs after a fire has started and save lives. Landlords are responsible for many repairs and renovations that need to be done on their properties, which is why it’s important for them to keep up with these obligations.
If you have an issue with something breaking or becoming damaged that falls into landlord repair responsibilities, contact us today!
6) Respect your tenants privacy
One of your most important duties as a landlord is respecting your tenants’ privacy. If you enter their homes without permission, or if you disclose information about them to third parties, you could be sued for invasion of privacy.
Disclose repairs that may affect comfort: When there are serious problems with a rental unit, such as leaks or roaches, landlords have an obligation to inform their tenants about these issues.
Unfortunately, some don’t do so—and that’s when lawsuits can arise.
Give your tenant enough notice if they need to move out: Most leases will include language stating that tenants must give written notice and vacate the premises in a timely manner if they are terminating their lease early.
7) Manage nuisance neighbours
As a landlord, your main goal is to ensure that you maintain a clean and comfortable living environment for all of your tenants. Unfortunately, there will always be times when one tenant decides to do their own thing.
Whether it’s turning their flat into a noisy nightclub or cooking curries from scratch every night, you need to do everything in your power to stop them. However, knowing what steps you can take will often depend on whether they are causing damage or breaking agreements with you.
For example, if your neighbour has turned their house into a disco and it’s keeping other residents awake at night, then you might have grounds for eviction.
Landlords Responsibilities - The Bottom Line
Although you likely don’t think about it all that often, being a landlord is more than just collecting rent. As a landlord, there are many responsibilities you have beyond keeping your units occupied.
This includes performing regular maintenance on his or her rental properties in order to keep them in good condition and return them to tenants at lease end in reasonable condition.
Repairing leaks, fixing broken windows and doors, painting damaged walls and performing general cleanup throughout any unit he or she owns.
A tenant who feels he or she isn't getting what he or she pays for may contact the housing authorities for an inspection of the rental property by one of their field inspectors if they suspect any violations of local housing code requirements affecting health and safety issues.