In a landlord-tenant relationship, the tenant is typically responsible for complying with all of the provisions of a lease agreement. This includes property maintenance expenses designated by the landlord to be the tenant’s responsibility. A landlord often retains the right to increase rent fees at contract renewal, at which time he may pass along other incidental expenses related to the operation and maintenance of the property.
While most landlords cover major maintenance and upkeep of rental properties, as is required by law, many pass along general “wear-and-tear” expenses to tenants. These may include things like carpet cleaning, small appliance repairs and air filter changes.
Misuse of Property
Many landlords pass along expenses that they deem are related to a tenant’s misuse of a property. For example, if you have a party and a guest breaks the railing on your staircase, chances are the landlord will arrange for the repairs, but pass the costs along to you.
Common Area Maintenance
Condo and apartment communities that share common areas, such as swimming pools, green spaces, outdoor grills and play equipment may pass along the cost of maintenance and repair to tenants. This is particularly true if the space is maintained by a third party.
Landscaping maintenance fees are typically passed along to tenants in the form of rent increases. This is especially true if a landlord arranges for individual yard and tree maintenance rather than overall common area maintenance.
If a property has amenities such as an exercise room, clubhouse or laundry facilities, the operational costs of maintaining such facilities may be passed along to tenants in the form of rent increases.
Rental properties that feature security guards or security gates may pass along related expenses to tenants.
Any time a landlord makes major improvements to a property, he often raises rent at lease renewal time. There are two reasons for this: first, it helps recoup the costs of the work, and, second, the property is now considered more valuable with the upgrades. Major improvements may include installation of recreation facilities, repaving parking areas, constructing garages or installing covered carports.
Things to Consider
Always read through rental agreements and lease renewals to ensure you are aware of the property maintenance that will be required of you during the term of your contract. If you are renewing a lease, and your rent is being raised, you may be able to negotiate some perks, such as requesting upgraded appliances, fresh paint or carpeting or minor household repairs.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.