The term landlord is used to refer to the owner of real estate property that is rented or leased, at a fee, to another person. The real estate property could be a rental house o an apartment building and the person paying the rent is known as the tenant or renter.

The landlord does not necessarily have to be a lone individual. A property can be given out for rent by either an individual or a corporate entity. The role of the landlord is equally referred to as lessor and female landlords are called landladies. While signing a lease or legal rental agreement, the terms lessor and lessee can be used to refer to the landlords and tenant.

Lessor and Lessee Relationship

The relationship between the lessor and lessee, or landlord and tenant is defined by a rental agreement or lease. This refers to the contract which stipulates terms such as price, length of lease, penalties for late payments, length of required notice before the agreement can be terminated by either landlord or tenant. While the owner is responsible for making repairs and carrying out property maintenance, the tenant has to keep the property clean and safe.

Sometimes, landlords give over the responsibilities for handling rental property to a property management company. Their duty will then involve putting out advertisements for the property, showing it to prospective tenants, negotiating and providing written leases, and collecting rent in addition to collecting rent and carrying out necessary repairs.

Responsibility of Landlord to Rental Property

The landlord is responsible in the following ways for the rental property:

  • Following Safety Codes – the local, state and federal safety codes for the property need to be strictly followed by the landlord. The codes are different from one state to the other and depend on the location of the rental property. Some of the necessary safety codes include: having knowledge of the required amount of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for each apartment, knowing how to get rid of lead paint on the property following EPA’s guidelines and knowing EPA approved methods for handling toxic mould.
  • Maintain Proper Insurance – the correct amount of insurance on the property must be maintained. A comprehensive insurance will provide protection for landlords in cases of floods or fires. Basic landlord property insurance provides insurance for the physical structure being rented out. Other insurance to consider include water coverage, fire coverage, and coverage for natural disasters, insurance to cover lawsuits and legal fees, and so on.
  • Pay Mortgage, Taxes and Utilities – when landlords take out mortgage on a property, or buy property on a private loan, he or she is responsible for paying back the loan. Property taxes also need to be paid to the government on the income received from collecting rent. Where tenants are not responsible for utility payments, the landlord must consistently take care of the payments to ensure that the tenants have water, heat and electricity.

What Are the Costs and Returns Involved With Being a Landlord?

Buy-to-let property investing can offer two potential sources of income – rent and from growth in capital through increase in value on the property. Being a landlord is a medium to long term investment risk as the property market is an unstable one sometimes, making it possible to lose money when property value goes down, when property stays vacant for a long period of time or the outgoings of the landlord are greater than the rental yields. Some of the fees associated with property purchase for landlords include valuation, stamp duty, property survey. Legal costs, mortgage arrangement fees, and so on.

Responsibility of Landlord to Tenants

The landlord has a duty to respond to repair requests within the shortest possible time. Action on the repair can be determined by the severity of the situation. A leaking roof during a rainy period warrants a faster attention than a cabinet door off its hinges, for example.

Maintaining a clean environment is also the responsibility of the landlord. Common areas should be well taken care of, free of garbage, mopped and have working light bulbs. The outdoor areas should also be well maintained, with grasses cut regularly, functioning outdoor lights and a yard that is free of debris.

Landlords have a duty to maintain a feeling of security and safety for tenants renting the property. While screening prospective tenants looking to rent the property, red flags such as a criminal history should be checked. Doors and windows should be properly secured. In addition, the locks should be changed after a prior tenant vacates the property and before a new one moves in.

Related Questions

Published on 16th June 2017

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