Many landlords wonder who pays for the property maintenance costs. The Florida Landlord and Tenant Act address some of these questions, but some circumstances will need to be covered in your lease. For example, the Landlord and Tenant Act talks about pest control. In a single family home, the resident or the tenant normally pays for pest control. However, in a multi-family unit, the landlord is responsible for paying the pest control charges. There are a few other areas where people are often confused about whether the landlord or the tenant should pay for the maintenance.
At Realty Services, we strongly urge people to include pool care costs in the rent and have a professional vendor handle the pool cleaning and maintenance. If something goes wrong with the pool, you want to make sure a professional handles it. It can also help you establish what happened. For example, if the pool motor stops, it might be because the tenant broke it or because the weather in Florida tends to deteriorate motors rather quickly. You can also fire the vendor if you feel the pool is not being cared for properly. You can compare services and find someone who treats your pool well. This is not so easy when you have a tenant taking care of that pool.
The same thing applies with your water system. Hire a vendor to take care of your well system. This way, when the pumps break down or the salt levels aren’t right, the vendor can identify the property and take care of the issues. You don’t want to expect the tenant to take care of technical issues that could result in wearing down or damaging the equipment in your system.
Lawn service is a little trickier. Generally, a tenant in a single family home should take care of the lawn. In a duplex or a multi-family unit, it’s better for the landlord to handle it so each tenant isn’t doing a different level of work when it comes to lawn maintenance. If there is a lot of landscaping involved and it’s complicated, you want to consider having a vendor take care of your yard. Your renters are there to enjoy the property, but they probably aren’t really looking for the job of taking care of the trees and plants on your property. In a property with an HOA, we always recommend professional lawn care. Your tenant might do a great job cutting the lawn every week, but an association board might not think that’s good enough. In Florida, grass grows quickly in the summer, so your board might complain to you that the lawn is not looking good enough. There is no reason for a conflict or dispute to arise between your HOA and your tenant. Hire a professional lawn care company and you won’t have to worry about it.
Finally, remember that you can usually get a volume discount when you hire the same company to care for several properties. We use the same pool company for 50 or 60 homes, which means our landlords pay a lot less than they would if they hired a company for just their property. Please contact us at Realty Services Property Management if you have any questions about maintenance costs or property management.