As a tenant OR a landlord, there are a lot of considerations and unexpected costs to leasing and renting. Along with that is one question that comes up frequently…
Landlord or Tenant: Who Pays for What?
Which utilities are covered in rentals varies widely by location and type of rental. Apartment rentals are more likely to include electricity, gas, water, and trash than single-family home rentals, but there are no guarantees. Meanwhile, it’s rare to find a rental with Internet or phone service included, but some upscale apartments do include it. Renters and landlords alike should take utilities into account when calculating the cost of rent and monthly budgeting.
Utilities to consider:
- Water & Sewer
- Internet, Cable and/or Phone
Several appliances are considered standard in apartment and home rentals. Even homeowners will rarely take them with them when they sell a home. Appliances that are typically included in rental properties include refrigerators, ovens, and stoves. On the other hand, microwaves and washers/dryers vary a bit more, and can often be used as an incentive for higher rents. Don’t underestimate the convenience of having a personal washer and dryer vs a shared system for the unit or visiting a laundromat!
Appliances to consider include:
- Refrigerator & Freezer
- Oven & Stove
- Washer & Dryer
In addition to providing the appliances, there’s the age and condition of appliances to consider. Older appliances are more likely to break down and require repairs, which brings us to our next topic…
Legally, it is the landlord’s responsibility to maintain a habitable condition for their properties and renters. Interpreting what “habitable” means is up to landlords and renters, but typically landlords cover repairs needed that are caused by routine wear and tear, while tenants cover things that are caused by their own actions or neglect. For example, a stopped up toilet that is found to have a toy in it would be charged back to the tenant.
Some examples of typical repairs include:
- Appliance Repair
- Plumbing Leaks
- Frozen Pipes
- Roof Leaks
A general rule of thumb for landlords for older appliances is to replace appliances if the cost of repair is more than half the cost of a new version. And, of course, we always advise screening tenants to find responsible renters who will take good care of your property!
For renters, it’s good to know your rights and make sure landlords are following legal guidelines.
While we can’t stave off all potential repairs by taking good care of properties and appliances, many issues and repairs can be avoided or minimized. While tenants have some control over the interior of their rental (and appliances), many maintenance items fall primarily on the landlord’s responsibility. Although, like most of this blog post, it varies between states and rental types. Rental homes are less likely to include lawn care than apartments, for example.
- Normal Wear and Tear
- Garbage Pickup
- Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Check Fire Extinguishers
- Pest Control
- Lawn Care
- Snow Removal
The Short Answer
It’s never easy, is it?! The short answer is that it depends and your best bet at determining the standard for the type of rental you’re considering renting or leasing is to look around and compare similar options. Landlords and tenants alike should know their rights and legal responsibilities, and spend some time researching reviews or checking applicant backgrounds to make sure it’s a good fit for both parties.