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"Overview of Typical Landlord Responsibilities"

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Much like rental property law in general, your landlord responsibilities may differ slightly from state-to-state. But for the most part, they are similar no matter where you are located. They really boil down to common sense. Importantly, your tenants have certain responsibilities too.


  • Provide safe & habitable housing that complies with all your municipality's building, housing, and health codes.
  • Give your tenants at least 24 hours notice before entering their apartment. Don't just show up out of the blue unless you have a legitimate emergency.
  • Clean and maintain common areas (hallways, stairs, yards, entry ways).
  • Provide adequate lighting in hallways / entryways.
  • Maintain working utilities (running water, heating, etc.).
  • Always respond to tenant violations in writing.
  • Respond to maintenance requests in a timely manner.
  • Provide details on the status of the tenant's security deposit, and return this to the tenant at the end of the lease term as required by law.
  • Give the tenant your emergency contact info and rent payment address.
  • Precisely follow all eviction laws in your state.
  • Do not charge tenants for normal wear and tear


You obviously must hold your tenants accountable for damage to their apartment by deducting legitimate repair expenses form his/her security deposit. Legitimate expenses include things such as broken windows, holes in walls, carpet stains or burns, broken appliances, etc.

However, you're not allowed to ding them for normal wear and tear. Examples of normal wear and tear include:

  • Faded or nicked paint
  • Worn carpet due to its age
  • Dirty window blinds
  • Worn door hinges or locks

Just make sure you only deduct legitimate damages from your tenant's security deposits. Otherwise, you may find yourself locked in a dispute.


Again, this is a two-way street. Your tenants have their own responsibilities, such as:

  • Abide by the terms of the landlord lease, especially regarding the timely payment of property income
  • Keep the unit relatively clean
  • Repair at-fault damages
  • Do not do anything to disturb neighbors
  • Maintain smoke detectors
  • Provide adequate notice upon move-out.
  • Do not move additional people in to the unit or sublet.
  • When moving out, return the apartment to the same condition as it was upon move-in.
  • Notify the landlord immediately if the apartment needs repair


It's good business to be the best landlord you can possibly be. A prerequisite of this is to focus on complying with your landlord responsibilities. Treat your tenants like customers and you'll be rewarded with better retention and fewer headaches. Click for more landlord advice.

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4 Responses to Overview of Typical Landlord Responsibilities

  1. bbobbo says:

    how do you handle going on vacation? do you have a friend/relative handle tenant requests (maintenance, emergencies) while you’re away, or hire someone to do it?


    legal note: i understand that anything you write does not constitute legal advice and i absolve you of any liability regarding my own financial decisions.

    • alank856 says:

      I always have my cell phone with me so this is not an issue. My tenants are always welcome to call but I have rarely had any emergencies so I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

  2. Erica says:

    Is it the Land Lord responsibility to clean gutters and trim bushes in yard

    • alank856 says:

      I think it depends on you personal preference. The bush trimming should probably be done by the tenants, but you might want to take care of the gutter cleaning yourself to make sure that no long term problems arise from the tenant failing to do this on an annual basis.

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