5 Common Misconceptions About Landlord Responsibility

Living room with black couch and chairWe’ve all done it. Moving into our first place of our very own with all those unwarranted assumptions that the landlord, or management company, was there to serve us, night and day. They are, after all, the ones who take our money, in exchange for our presence in their building.  Don’t they owe us?

Well, we’re sorry to be the one to break it to you, but no, they don’t owe you. Upon signing a lease, you’ve entered into a legal, binding contract that states the management company agrees to keep your building in habitable conditions in exchange for your promise to pay your rent on time and in full. This was the inspiration behind today’s post: misinformed expectations renters usually have of their landlords:

  1. Stained Carpet

    Upon moving in, most tenants expect to live in a brand new, sparkling clean environment. You know the kind: when you can’t even tell anyone prior to you has ever stepped foot into your new domain. Well, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The landlord should do a good job preparing the apartment for your move-in: making all operational repairs, painting (sometimes this may be just touching up the walls), cleaning the floors (including the carpet), and providing a clean, safe environment for you to enjoy. However, if the prior tenant happened to have a fondness for red drinks, and should have spilled some of that delicious and tasty, yet stains-on-contact, red wine onto the carpet; usually the landlord is going to have that carpet cleaned to the best of his ability and let it ride. A baseball-sized red stain in the corner of a room is not going to cause him to immediately rip up the carpet and have it replaced. He’s in the business of saving the owner money and keeping the buildings in the best shape possible. A little red spot on the carpet he just had installed last year is not going to be a big deal to him.  Our advice to you is pick your battles, and buy a large houseplant to strategically place over your red polka-dot. Chances are, you’re going to be adding a few polka-dots of your own before moving out of your apartment.


  2. Damaged walls 

    Upon move-in, you’ll most likely do a walk-through inspection with your landlord. Fill this sheet out down to the finest detail. The more flaws you mark down, the less likely you’ll be paying to fix those flaws in the end. After all, there are no guarantees that the person who is your landlord at move-in, will still be the landlord when you move out. Once that form is completed and filed away safely back in the landlord’s files, there it sits until the day you move out. In the meantime, let’s say you have an “Oops” moment on move-in day and accidentally let your four-poster bed hit a wall at just the wrong angle which ends up puncturing the sheetrock. More than likely, you can put in a work order with the landlord, and he’ll put it on the bottom of his priority maintenance list (things like broken air conditioners and leaks go to the top of his list) and when he’s able to address it, he’ll come out and patch that wall right up and slap a little paint on it and you’ll be good as new. However, if you make it a routine of having your rowdy buddies over every weekend, and somebody has the habit of getting irate at football games and likes throwing things, which happens to puncture the sheetrock; well, you could find yourself in a real pickle with your landlord. He’s not going to constantly make drywall repairs if you have the habit of constantly damaging it. Chances are, at some point, he’ll quit making the repairs, wait until you move out, and charge you for repairs to those damages. Remember, you don’t OWN this place, you’re paying someone to borrow it. If your buddy can’t respect the drywall, perhaps it’s best you hang out at his house.


  3. Loud Neighbors

    Upon applying for your home, chances are you were required to fill out an application. This enables the landlord to know more about you. More than likely, he did a background screening, possibly checking criminal records or credit score. Once the applicant meets the criteria, that’s about all the landlord can do to “screen” his resident’s. He can’t predict their behavior, and he certainly can’t deny someone because he doesn’t like the way someone looks. So, if you suddenly find yourself living next door to the kids from the local fraternity or someone who likes to speak in an elevated voice, allowing an entire city block to participate in any conversation; there’s really not much more that can be done, other than calling the local police station and submitting a noise complaint. After that, contact your landlord and notify him of what’s taken place. If it happens again, repeat. Sooner or later, when there are enough police reports in place, the landlord can start litigation to stop the behavior. Please don’t call the landlord at two in the morning. to tell him you can’t sleep because of the roaring rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” coming through your walls. Remember, he doesn’t want to be at work 24 hours a day any more than you do. Respect the process.


  4. Filters/Light Bulbs

    On move-in day, every light fixture should have a functioning light bulb. The filters in your air conditioner and stove should be clean and functioning. It becomes your responsibility while living in your apartment to regularly clean and/or replace the filters, as well as the light bulbs. You may be able to ask for assistance from Maintenance if you’re unable to reach them, but you’ll be expected to purchase them. Hint: Keeping your A/C filter clean helps keep your air conditioner functioning at its best, which also aids in keeping your electrical bill to a minimum.


  5. Replacing Your Furniture

    Let’s say you walk into your abode after a long day at work to find your apartment flooded from your neighbor’s bathtub overflowing. Once the panic and anger subside, you’ll want to march down to the landlord’s office and DEMAND replacement of your belongings. Read these next few words slowly: It’s not the landlord’s responsibility. Landlords are requiring rental insurance in their leases to protect themselves from any damages you may incur while living in their rentals. If you opt out of seeking and employing an insurance company to provide replacement coverage in case your building burns or floods, it’s on you. Landlords would be financially ruined if they had to replace a resident’s furnishings every time something went awry. They can’t control residential behavior. They can’t predict the weather. Get the rental insurance! It’s a minimum charge and offers you peace of mind knowing if your next-door neighbor has a fetish for bubble baths, you don’t ever have to worry should the tub run over. You’re covered.

These are just a few of the misconceived expectations of landlords. They’re just doing their jobs. Pay your rent in a timely manner. Don’t damage their property. Remember you’re borrowing this space and that it doesn’t belong to you. Return it to them in the same or better condition as when you rented it from them. When in doubt, ask questions and communicate.

If you are looking for an apartment in Destin, FL with an amazing landlord, attentive property managers and maintenance team, then contact us today.

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