Common Areas, Common Responsibility

Maintaining the common areas of a rental property is the responsibility of the landlord. But that doesn’t tell the full story. The tenants also have a responsibility to the common areas – not only using them properly, but making sure that when there is an issue, the landlord is made aware. After all, unless the property owner or manager lives on-site, they will rely on someone else to keep them informed of any issues.

There are a couple of really good reasons to make sure common areas are kept up:

  • Brings In Good Tenants and Neighbors  When showing the building, the common areas are the most seen, from the landscaping to the hallways to the amenities like a fitness room or laundry. By keeping these areas up, the tenant is presented with an expectation, and good tenants and neighbors will live up to it, and not want to live in a building where the common areas are in disrepair.
  • Retain Good Tenants and Neighbors  Much the same as above – if the common areas are allowed to deteriorate, the tenants and neighbors you want will want to leave for better buildings. This drives moves through all of history – when home no longer looks like home, people leave. Keeping up with repairs and appearance keeps home looking, and feeling, like home.
  • Protect Property Value  By keeping the building in good repair, the property value is maintained – and this keeps small problems from becoming large, costly, special assessment causing, repairs. And everyone benefits from that!
  • Staying On The Right Side of the Law  This is more for the landlords. There can be strict legal statutes covering maintenance, and by failing to comply, fines and fees (and more if it gets bad enough) can be levied. From a tenant side, this does loop back to bringing in good neighbors, since moving into a unit that has legal issues is not going to be something these good neighbors are likely to be part of.
  • Liability  Ah, liability. The lawsuit is the, hopefully, final resort when there is a tenant/landlord dispute. Lawsuits can happen for injuries, or even simple negligence. By making sure to keep common areas clean and maintained, lawsuits can be avoided or eliminated completely.

When the tenant-landlord relationship is solid, both sides help each other, and that is what we want to see. In the end, when everyone pulls together, everyone benefits.