As a property manager working with landlords on a daily basis, it is important for us to ask our owners to prevent issues and troubles with tenants by making repairs to their rentals as soon as possible. When it comes to problems like plumbing or heating and air conditioning issues, they should be taken care of within twenty four hours, if possible. Further, anything that affects the health and safety of a tenant should be addressed immediately.
It is best not to go into tenant-occupied properties without giving notice. Landlords and property managers should only go into rented properties unannounced if there are emergencies such as a fire or a water leak.
A landlord is responsible for more than providing housing. Rental property should be clean and structurally safe. There are housing codes to meet. For example, the minimum requirements for light, ventilation and electrical wiring must be met, along with the proper number of smoke detectors installed. These requirements can be found in the Texas Property Code and with local building or housing authorities.
There are consequences when landlords don’t make the necessary repairs. When a tenant asks for repairs and the landlord or property manager doesn’t comply with the legal requirement of making them, a tenant has several options. Under certain conditions of the property code, the tenant can hold back the whole rent until a problem is resolved. Another option for a tenant, within conditions of the property code, is to employ someone to make the needed repairs and subtract the cost from the following month’s rent. They can also contact the local building inspector who can demand landlords do repairs and allow a tenant to move out before a lease ends.
Tenants may sue a landlord for a refund of past rent and in some situations can sue for emotional distress triggered by the poor conditions. It has happened in the past and will happen again.
The best way to avoid tenant problems is to make repairs as soon as possible. You can assign the repairs to the tenant, but it is not advisable. Most tenants do not know how to make repairs and/or they may hire workers who do not offer quality work.
It’s best to take care of the major and minor problems within twenty four hours, if possible. Remember to keep your tenants updated as to when and how the repairs will be done and the reasons for any setbacks and delays. Build a good relationship with your tenants. An occupied house is always more favorable to a landlord’s bottom line than a vacant one.
Until next time,