Maintaining a clean, safe, livable rental environment isn’t just a responsibility that falls on the landlord, much of these tasks are in the hands of the tenant. The law requires landlords to provide a safe, habitual residence, but it will be hard to maintain this if the tenant doesn’t share in the upkeep. All responsibilities of both parties should be detailed within the lease, but here are a few common tenant responsibilities.

Waste Disposal

In order to keep a sanitary home, it’s important to throw away trash in its proper place. Most properties provide a waste removal service for which they charge a fee. Landlords can choose to cover this fee in utilities or within the amount of rent they charge each month. 

Pest Control

Landlords are required to provide incoming tenants with a pest free environment. However, once tenants move in, it’s their responsibility to keep it this way. Tenants could be liable for any damage caused by infestations that occur due to their negligence, so it’s important to keep up on good hygiene. 

Mold Prevention

Mold comes from moisture, so whose job it is to clean and prevent water leaks can be tricky to navigate. Usually, landlords are responsible for any big leaks such as from plumbing. However, if the mold is the result of poor hygiene such as leaving a pile of damp clothes on the floor, the tenant would be liable for these damages. 

Proper Appliance Use

If you abuse appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, and microwaves, they won’t last very long. Landlords may be responsible for routine maintenance on these appliances, but overall it’s up to the tenant to take care of them and make sure they last their full life expectancy. If any repair or maintenance needs to be done because of the negligence of the tenant, it could fall to them to pay or the damages.

Septic Maintenance

Most landlords include a clause in their lease containing information about the proper use and care of the septic system on their property. This includes treating oils, greases, and non-degradable substances like trash and not plumbing waste. Not following these guidelines could create serious issues and substantially shorten the life of the septic system.

Contacting the Landlord

Although tenants don’t have a responsibility to handle all repairs on their property, they are required to let the landlord know if there are any damages that need to be taken care of. If damages are created because they weren’t reported and taken care of earlier, tenants could be held liable and cost them their security deposit. Tenants should not try to make major repairs on their own unless specifically allowed to do so through the lease.