Rental Maintenance Issues: Dealing With Violations (Form)

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As a property owner, it is natural for you to feel a lot of pride in the condition of each of your properties. Even if you are not the one currently living at a property because it is a property that you are renting out, that sense of pride does not disappear. In fact, you might even become more vigilant about the state of the property.

What do you do if a tenant commits a violation of rental maintenance and stops keeping the grounds in good condition? Is it possible to force the tenant to make changes when maintenance issues arise, or does that fall into the catch-all landlord duties category?

Today, we’ll learn more about the violation of rental maintenance sample form that we have on file for landlords like you to use whenever you need to address problems tenants don’t want to correct on their own.

A Table Of Contents For Maintenance Issues

What Is A Violation Of Rental Maintenance?

What exactly does it mean to call something a violation of rental maintenance?

Usually, people think of maintenance as something that only landlords are responsible for dealing with. In reality, there are some maintenance aspects that are considered landlord duties and others that are renter duties. The exact distribution of maintenance tasks depends on the lease as well as local and state laws.

sidewalks covered with snowA violation of rental maintenance can be seen as a situation where a tenant does not keep the grounds or property in the condition that their rental lease requires. If a rental lease says that sidewalks must be shoveled within 24 hours of snowfall, for example, it would be a violation to leave them covered with snow for three days.

Common Violations

The most common violations that landlords have to take action about usually have to do with outdoor groundskeeping. While most tenants realize that keeping the interior of their rental property is necessary, that is also the easiest thing for them to do since they also want to live in a clean space.

Taking care of outdoor space, however, can be more difficult to get used to for some tenants. Cutting grass, shoveling snow, and otherwise maintaining outdoor areas can take a long time, and many tenants may not have ever had their own yards to care for before.

For that reason, it is very common for tenants to fall behind on maintaining outdoor areas. 

Landlord Duties Vs Tenant Duties

As mentioned above, maintenance tasks are sometimes the responsibility of you, the landlord. At other times, however, the tasks should be completed by the tenants.

Maintenance issues that are directly caused by tenants and their actions (a broken window, moldy showers from not cleaning, etc.) are also their responsibility to fix. Larger, structural issues that were likely caused by the age or build of the home, such as a cracked foundation, are the responsibility of the landlord.

Divvying Up Responsibilities: Be Specific!

The only way to be sure about who is responsible for different types of problems around a rental property is to make every possible maintenance issue clearly defined and assigned in the rental agreement. 

Specific rental agreements can save you a lot of frustration when any type of violation occurs, but they can also help to prevent violations from ever happening in the first place. By laying out who is responsible for what before the tenant even moves into the home, you’ll be helping to ensure that your tenants are more responsible thanks to the added knowledge.

Having tenants that show accountability when dealing with problems tenants caused can be very reassuring as a landlord. After all, it’s not often that you see that kind of behavior! When choosing tenants, look for signs that they are going to be very self-aware and responsible tenants. This will help you out in the long run.

What Qualifies As Maintenance Issues

A maintenance issue can be defined as anything that needs to be fixed up or maintained in the home. Cleaning the drains regularly, for instance, can be considered to be a maintenance issue. Keeping the weeds out of any cracked concrete and cutting the grass regularly are also maintenance issues.

maintenance issueWhen the issue is something that the tenant wants you to fix, they could even send you a request form to get the required maintenance done. And you’d have to get it done on time!

The specific definition of a maintenance issue is hard to pin down because of the huge breadth of things that might fall into this category. If it is a problem at the property that has to do with the home, appliances, or any included furniture, it is likely going to be considered part of the maintenance issue category.

The Violation Of Rental Maintenance Form

Here at RentPrep, we offer a number of different free forms to landlords to help make your day-to-day work a little bit easier. These templates can help you to make your own forms to handle any and all situations. 

This Violation of Rental Maintenance Form is one of many that we hope can help you achieve more:

Violation Of Rental Maintenance 

When To Use This Form

This form, the Violation of Rental Maintenance Form, can be used whenever you have a tenant that isn’t properly maintaining the condition of the grounds at the rental property. The form lets them know exactly what the issue is and how they are expected to remedy the problem.

If your tenant hasn’t cut the grass and it is getting so tall that the local authorities might take action or they haven’t shoveled the driveway even though that is part of the rental agreement, it’s time to use this form.

How To Use This Form

Let’s break down each section of this form so that you know exactly how to fill it out when creating your own version.

Basic Identifying Information

The first things on the form are as follows:

  • Date
  • Property Address
  • Tenant Names

All of this identifying information can be thought of as the header of your form. While everyone involved knows this information, adding it to this document ensures that there can be no confusion about when you sent it, who you sent it to, and what property you are discussing. Even if it seems like overkill, this is a very necessary section.

State The Problem

The next part of the form should state that there is a problem with the way that the grounds are being maintained. If the entire outdoor area is in disarray, you can leave this section as generalized as you would like.

If, however, there are particular problem areas that you want the tenants to address, you may want to modify this section to be more specific.

State The Deadline

Follow up with a clear deadline of when the property will be reviewed again to ensure that the problem is fixed. This is important so that the tenant knows that they must take action as soon as possible or they could be in trouble.

Contact Information

Contact InformationIt is always good to encourage the tenant to reach out to you with any questions or concerns when sending out this type of form. While it might be obvious to you that the grounds aren’t being properly managed, the tenant might not know what they’re doing wrong.

By kindly stating your contact information and phone number, you’re giving the tenant another chance to communicate clearly with you. As most landlords know, clear communication with tenants can make a world of difference!

State By State Rules

As with all of our rental information, we want to remind you that some states have specific rules about what landlords and tenants are responsible for. Those rules can have an effect on what you are expected to maintain as part of your landlord duties. With apartment buildings, for example, the landlord is usually responsible for all outdoor maintenance.

Another thing to check into is whether or not your local authorities or homeowner’s associations have set up limits about how tall grass can be before it must be cut or how long a homeowner has to shovel the sidewalk. 

If these types of rules exist in your area, make sure that you include them as tenant responsibilities in your lease agreement so that the tenant abides by them. If the tenant does not follow the rules, any accrued fines could wind up being your responsibility!

Don’t Take It All On As Landlord Duties

When you notice problems that might be considered to be some type of violation of rental maintenance at one of your properties, you might be tempted to head in and fix it yourself. While there are many issues that are required landlord tenant act repairs, you shouldn’t do the work that is your tenant’s responsibility.

By using this simple form, you can easily encourage your tenant to follow through on their end of the rental agreement by maintaining the rounds better in the future. This form is very simple to use, and that makes getting your rental agreement back on track easier than ever before.