When you’re renting a Sonoma County home, you’re responsible for taking care of it while you live there and for returning it to the owner in the same condition as it was when you took possession.
It sounds simple enough, but a lot of tenants get confused about what they should be doing to maintain the home versus what the landlord is responsible for maintaining. We have a few tips that will help you preserve the condition of the home you’re living in, and lead to a better and more successful tenancy.
Check Your Lease Agreement
The lease agreement you sign at the beginning of the tenancy should be very clear on what you’re responsible for maintaining as a tenant. It should cover landscaping and lawn care as well as utilities and pest control. If there’s a swimming pool or a hot tub, the lease should state who is responsible for maintaining it, and if a professional service is used, who is responsible for paying those bills.
Typically, a landlord will be responsible for providing a safe and habitable home. Major systems and functions such as the plumbing, electricity, and heating and cooling units will be the landlord’s responsibility. All appliances that were provided when you moved in will also be maintained and if necessary replaced by the landlord.
As a tenant, you will usually be expected to change the air filters and the light bulbs. Your landlord will want you to keep the home clean. If there are any maintenance issues or repair needs, you need to report those right away.
Housekeeping Before Moving Out
You’ll also have a specific list of housekeeping things that will need to be done before you move out. Your lease will reflect these requirements, and your landlord will likely remind you of what needs to be done before you move out. These details most often include:
- Cleaning the property thoroughly.
- Having the carpets professionally steam cleaned.
- Retuning all keys, remotes, and other materials.
- Removing all personal belongings.
- Replacing any light bulbs that are burned out.
- Returning anything that’s been changed back to the original move-in condition (i.e. paint colors, etc.).
If there aren’t any specific move-out instructions listed in your rental agreement, make sure you talk to your landlord so your security deposit isn’t charged for reasons you don’t understand.
Communicating with Landlords and Managers
The best way to take care of the rental property you’re living in is by communicating well with your landlord or Sonoma County property managers. You should feel comfortable asking questions when something is unclear, and always be willing to talk about any problems or issues that you see in the home. Sometimes, damage or repairs go unreported because tenants are afraid it will mean that rent will go up or eviction will be forthcoming. But, it’s better to take care of issues right away. You don’t want any maintenance problems to become more complex and expensive.
We would be happy to talk to you further about how to maintain your rental home. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at Healdsburg Property Management.