Capital Street

6 Repairs that Tenants should pay for

Are you tired of going into your bank account every time your tenant voices a complaint? Do most of those complaints seem like issues that your tenant brought on themselves? Are you curious if some of those expenses should be paid for by your tenant instead of you? If those are questions that you have then this video is for you!


Hi, I’m Albert with Capital Street Management, a Property Management company servicing Essex County, Union County, and surrounding areas here in NJ.


As a Rental Property Owner, it’s usually not a great experience when a Tenant calls you about a needed repair. Not to mention a request for it to be taken care of immediately. Although there are many repairs and maintenance issues that fall under the responsibility of you as the landlord, some repairs and property maintenance could be the responsibility of your tenant. In this video I’ll outline 6 of those repairs that should generally be the responsibility of your Tenant.


1- Replacing Light Bulbs and HVAC Filters, These items are generally the tenants responsibility unless otherwise stated in your lease. Some landlords will supply HVAC filters, while others will require tenants to purchase them for themselves. This is usually common knowledge but you’d be surprised at some of the calls that we get. All of those calls are welcomed by the way.


2- Unclogging backed-up drains that the Tenant caused.  If the Tenant clogs the toilet or sink it should be their responsibility to get it unclogged. Based on your Lease you may require them to unclog it themselves or to call you to have someone take care of it before the problem turns into a bigger one. We’d recommend the latter.


3- Pest Infestations.  Assuming that your Tenants are moving into a rental unit that doesn’t have any existing pest problems, they should be responsible for any rodent or bug infestations that occur after they move in. Usually an exterminator can point out a cause to the problem which can be used to justify why the charges should be the responsibility of the Tenant who caused the issue.


Certain living habits, like leaving old food out or failing to regularly take out the trash, can attract ants, roaches, or even rats. If you find your Tenant to be responsible for the infestation, you should require them to pay to get rid of the problem.


4- Damage to property due to their negligence. This means damage caused by your Tenants own negligence — accidental or not — and damages caused by their family, friends, kids, and other guests they invite into the property. Ideally they would pay for the repairs and move on, but that may not be the case. In situations where Tenants deny their fault, it’s useful to have records of the property’s condition from move-in inspection reports and other inspections that you should have records of.


5- Holes in the wall from frames and shelving that they hung

Before you send their security deposit back, you’ll want to make sure that you have fully inspected the apartment. After receiving their security deposit back before vacating, tenants might skip out on doing those last few tasks including patching up holes they’ve put in the wall from TV’s, shelves, and other damage they may have caused to the drywall and paint from adhesives. If they do skip out on these tasks, that money should come out of their security deposits.

6- Anything else outlined in the lease. As a rental property owner you’ll want to make sure that your lease has been reviewed by an attorney before actually using it. Don’t rely on those 1 ½ pagers that you can find online. Most if not all issues of landlord/tenant responsibility  should be outlined in this document. Keep it on hand to go over again if issues arise so you can quickly determine whether or not the burden and financial responsibility falls on you as the property owner or on your tenants. Once signatures are on the lease, all parties are legally bound to it and there should be no wiggle room — it’s either your problem, or it’s not.

As a landlord, it’s always good to have your lease be very detailed and set up to protect you from as much liability as possible. Especially if you own rental properties in a tenant friendly state such as NJ.

If you own rental properties here in NJ and you’re worried about if your lease is as Iron Clade as possible, download our free resource at the link here. It’s 3 Lease Clauses that should be included in every NJ residential lease. Let me mention that this isn’t legal advice as I’m not an attorney but as the Owner and Property Manager at Capital Street Management I’d highly recommend that you consider having these 3 clauses added to your leases to protect yourself in a worst case scenario.

I’m Albert with Capital Street Management, Thanks for reading this post.  

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