Is it really “your property, your rules”?
Today, we’ll answer the question: “Can a landlord make a tenant pay for repairs?”
If you’re a landlord for the 35% of United States citizens who rent their residences, you may be asking yourself: can I make a tenant pay for repairs?
The short answer is, maybe.
Landlord and tenant rights vary from state to state, making it challenging to find the best solution for every situation. However, certain conditions must be met before the tenant has to pay for repairs.
Read on to discover more about whether you may be held responsible for damages, then contact us to learn more about your rights as a landlord in your location.
Who Covers Rental Property Damages?
Can a landlord make a tenant pay for repairs?
Almost every state says that a landlord can make a tenant pay for repairs. However, you need to be careful about waiting to make repairs until the tenant has paid.
Under Florida law, landlords must make any necessary property repairs to uphold state and local health, housing, and building codes. Failure to keep a residence habitable may give your tenants the right to withhold rent.
However, tenants are also obligated not to damage the property or permit anyone else to do so and the law allows landlords to recover damages if the tenant doesn’t comply.
A landlord can make a tenant pay for repairs in two different ways:
- By Agreement – If both parties agree before moving in, they can negotiate an agreement where the tenant pays for all the damages and liabilities related to their stay. However, to protect yourself against any damages to your property, it’s essential to determine this from the beginning.
- By Law – The legal definition of what constitutes damage and liability is broader than just physical damage and includes replacement costs, court fees, medical expenses, economic losses, etc. If disputes arise, it may be necessary to have a court sort things out.
Repairs When A Tenant Is Facing Eviction
If one of your tenants is facing eviction due to unpaid repairs, you may wonder who will incur the cost of those repairs.
Your best bet is to consult with an attorney to ensure that your rights are upheld. Depending on your lease agreement, your responsibility could include paying for repair costs caused by tenants’ negligence or fault. If the tenant fails to repair or replace that damage in a timely manner, then it is possible that the tenant could be held liable.
Sometimes you can solve this issue without hiring an attorney by reaching out to the tenant. However, if your tenant is continuing to refuse to work with you or if the repairs are quite costly, then you’ll need an attorney.
Withholding a Tenant’s Security Deposit
Security deposits are a good way for landlords to collect money in good faith to help fund any damages that arise during tenancy. It should be noted, however, that landlords cannot make a tenant pay for repairs against normal wear and tear.
If the security deposit isn’t enough to cover the damage—and it is clear that the damage was caused by the tenant—the law allows you to sue the tenant for damages.
Can I Charge Special Assessments?
Special assessments are very common for HOAs, condominium associations, and timeshares as a way to share the burden of major updates between owners and members.
They do not, however, apply to renters.
Even if a landlord has to perform major unexpected updates—such as replacing the roof, laying new carpet, or repaving the driveway—this should not fall under the tenant’s responsibility. As the owner of the property, it is the landlord’s responsibility to assume the financial obligation of maintaining the house.
A landlord should never ask a tenant to pay beyond their monthly rent unless it is required in the lease.
Protecting Yourself Against Unnecessary Repair Costs
If you’re renting out property in Florida, you should know that there are many hidden costs to taking care of your rental property. These costs can be difficult to predict, but they can often lead to very high repair bills.
One way of avoiding this is by doing basic maintenance of the property. This will allow you to maximize your return on investment and avoid costly repairs later.
Some examples of such maintenance include, but are not limited to:
- Fixing roof leaks
- Pest control
- HVAC servicing
- Replacing outdated appliances
If you make sure to maintain the property as best you can on your own, you’ll save the cost of paying for repairs later if required.
Another way to look after your own interests as a landlord is to work with a property management company. Having a knowledgeable, experienced professional to coordinate the maintenance and legal aspects of your rental property can make a huge difference in your satisfaction.
Contact Us To Learn More About Your Rights As a Landlord
As a landlord, you are obligated to provide your tenants with a habitable residence. However, this does not mean that the burden of repairs falls solely on your shoulders. Your tenants have a similar obligation to keep the property in good condition and any damages they cause are their financial responsibility.
Fortunately, one of the best ways to prevent such issues is a simple one: work with a property management company such as American Home Team Realty.
Our services begin with finding the type of quality tenants you can trust to live in your property. That’s why we perform a stringent background check on all prospective tenants. When maintenance requests arise, we handle them professionally and promptly, to avoid disputes later on.
And if legal issues come up, we are able to handle those, too.
Being a landlord should mean having a source of passive income. But it isn’t “passive” if you’re doing everything yourself! American Home Team Realty can take that burden off of you.