Recent Buying Selling Lifestyle Investor Tenants
Recent Buying Selling Lifestyle Investor Tenants

A Maintenance Checklist for Renters

Written by Sarah Newton
Whilst leasing out a property, a great advantage is having most maintenance costs covered by the landlord. However, this doesn't mean you are completely free from all of the costs. Throughout your lease, it is your responsibility to maintain the property and if you fail to do so, it will be taken out of your bond. To ensure you are maintaining your responsibilities as a tenant, see this checklist below for some tips.

Check your lease agreement
Every agreement is different and is dependent on the agency and the landlord's requirements. Check your lease agreement to see whether or not you are responsible for:
- replacing light bulbs
- replacing air filters
- cleaning the dryer vent
- maintaining specific appliances
- arranging for rubbish removal
- mowing the lawn and removing yard waste

Maintain your walls and paint
- The most common repair renters come across is wear and tear. Any smudges and marks are not costly to fix, but need to be fixed before moving out.
- If there is any significant damage to the walls and paint in the property, you will need a patch kit to fix any damages for example from moisture.
- At the end of your lease agreement, if you have put any nails in the wall it is your responsibility to fill the holes prior to leaving the property.

Upkeep porches and decks
If ignored for too long, porches and decks can fall into disrepair fairly quickly. Don't get stuck with a large bill when it could be easily addressed earlier. Even though porches and decks usually fall under wear and tear, larger repairs such as missing bannisters will come out of your deposit. To ensure this doesn't happen, regularly check for:
- rot at the base of the bannisters, railings and spindles
- loose wood on the handrails or base structure of your porch

Make sure you communicate with your agency or landlord for major repairs, to ensure you aren't breaching your lease in performing any repairs.

Repairing Doors
Any broken or malfunctioning door can lead to an expense if not fixed before leaving the property. To prevent any damages here are some tips to keep in mind:
- periodically check the door hinges are in good working condition and are properly lubricated
- check that the chain lock is firmly secured to the door and wall
- ensure the door sweeps are not broken or worn out
- inspect the weather stripping to ensure it hasn't worn away
- make sure the deadbolt is secure and works properly

Maintaining windows
If windows are broken due to negligence, this is where you will become responsible for repairing the windows. When it comes to windows it is a good idea to:
- immediately report any cracks or chips in your window glass to the agency or landlord
- be aware of foggy double pane windows, where the seals have broken (making the windows foggy)
- regularly check the screens for damage or tampering, and report any issues to the agency or landlord

Preserve floors and carpets
Usually, carpet will last from 5 to 7 years. Landlords also usually steam clean, shampoo or even replace the carpet after each tenant moves out (all depending on the length of the tenant's stay). While most carpeting maintenance is covered by the landlord under wear and tear, the tenant still has responsibilities to:
- repair any spills, pet accidents and any other negligent stains
- vacuum regularly
- repair any light scratches on wooden floors

Maintaining ovens and refrigerators
Maintaining these appliances can be easily overlooked, however, if not looked after regularly it can easily build up and become harder to clean over time. Make sure you:
- deep clean your oven
- regularly clean your fridge and freezer thoroughly
- remove absolutely everything from the fridge and freezer before moving out (if the fridge/freezer was included in the lease)

Keeping counters and cabinets clean
Pay attention to the following to prevent any further costs:
- periodically check for dampness around cabinets and counters
- regularly look for any possible leaks under the sink and around the tap(even the smallest amount of water can lead to water damage and mould)
- avoid hanging damp towels over cabinets
- disinfect your cabinets every few months

There are plenty of things to do in order to maintain your property you are leasing. If you are ever in doubt about what is your responsibility as the tenant, you can always call your real estate agency for additional support and advice.

If there is any maintenance required, whether you have to perform on your own or request from your landlord, it is always a good idea to keep the agency and landlord in the loop so they are aware of any changes you are making or will require to be made.

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