Are you planning to put up your property for rent? While renting out vacant space is a great way of generating extra income while maintaining ownership, you should also be prepared to face all the challenges of being a landlord – especially if you have never done it before. Contrary to what most people believe, the responsibilities of a landlord are not limited to selecting a tenant, signing an agreement, and collecting monthly rent. They are also responsible for their tenants as well as the property.
To put it simply, being a landlord is a full-time job that comes with a lot of different duties. If you are wondering what those are, we’ve put together a list of legal and ethical responsibilities of landlords in Pakistan that will help you out.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A LANDLORD?
A landlord wears many hats.
Of course, the primary role of a landlord is to provide the tenant with decent accommodation in exchange for a fair amount in monthly rent. However, that’s not all. When renting out their property, the property owner must make sure the space is clean, well-maintained and secure. They should also ensure the building is structurally sound and all the interior fittings, such as appliance and furnishing, are in perfect order. It is also among the duties of a landlord to maintain a peaceful environment for their tenants and help address their issues along with paying property taxes and maintaining proper insurance.
Moreover, a landlord has to play the role of a negotiator, realtor, and repairman. They are responsible for screening tenants, asking them about their rental history, finalizing the rent and the amount for a security deposit, and registering the rental agreement once it is signed by both parties. Other than that, making the tenants aware of their responsibilities towards the property is also one of the main duties of a landlord.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LANDLORD TO TENANTS?
So, what are the responsibilities of a landlord towards his or her tenants?
- Ensuring a safe environment
- Maintaining peace and cleanliness
- Responding to maintenance requests
Let’s discuss these duties and responsibilities in detail.
ENSURING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT
Your home is supposed to be the safest place in the world – and your tenant should feel the same way. Therefore, as a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure the rental property is properly secured. You must make sure all the doors and windows have working locks and cannot be opened from the outside. Similarly, the front doors must have a deadbolt lock in addition to a regular door knob or handle. It is also extremely important to replace the locks once an old tenant moves out and a new one moves in.
In case you own a building with multiple tenants, make sure each of them only has keys to their units and cannot enter someone else’s room, portion or apartment without permission. Moreover, never allow a plumber, electrician or any other repairman to enter a tenant’s home unsupervised. Not only could this lead to a potential robbery but may also make your tenant feel unsafe and uncomfortable.
The outside of the house or a building should be just as safe as the inside. The area outside the front door, as well as the car parking, should be well-lit and secure. Unstable railings, broken fences and damaged staircases must be fixed as soon as possible to avoid any unpleasant accidents.
MAINTAINING PEACE AND CLEANLINESS
Apart from ensuring the safety of a tenant, maintaining clean and peaceful surroundings is also one of the main responsibilities of a landlord.
Whether you own a multi-unit rental property or are only renting out a portion of your home, it is imperative to set some boundaries from the get-go. For example, you should have a strict policy about no loud music or noises after 10 PM, or that everyone should keep proper arrangements for discarding their trash and not leave it outside their front door for everyone to see.
Of course, you can’t change people’s habits or be held responsible for cleaning your tenants’ messes. However, it is among the duties of a landlord to ensure the property is free of garbage, the hallways and stairwells are swept and mopped regularly, and all outdoor areas are well lit. If your property has a backyard or a garden, you must ensure it is always well-maintained and free from any debris.
In the case of termite, bugs or rodent infestation, a landlord must immediately hire an exterminator to take care of the problem before it gets out of hands.
Ideally, landlords should clarify all of these things with potential tenants during the screening phase. Ask them if they can follow your no-noise, no-loud music policy before drafting a rental agreement and signing below the dotted line.
Here are a few more important questions to ask while interviewing your potential tenant.
RESPONDING TO MAINTENANCE REQUESTS
Property maintenance and repairs are included in the responsibilities of landlord and tenants alike. Although most tenancy agreements spell it out in detail, a lot of tenants believe their landlords are fully responsible for the complete maintenance of their home.
That’s simply not true. Maintenance of a rental property is usually divided into two parts: interior and exteriors. The tenant is responsible to fix the interior damages such as fixing broken appliances that came with the property, replacing broken furniture and repainting the walls when needed.
However, a landlord’s responsibility for repairs is just as imperative as the other duties.
A landlord is responsible for repairing any cracks in the walls, replacing burst pipes, fixing broken steps and other dealing with structural damages. It is also important for landlords to respond to the calls of maintenance and repair within a reasonable period of time. If the nature of the damage is too severe, make sure to call a professional as soon as possible.
Let’s take a look at these tips for the essential upkeep for a rental home for more information.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LANDLORD TO PROPERTY
Now that we’ve discussed the duties of a landlord towards their tenants, it’s time to analyze the responsibilities of a landlord to property.
- Maintaining proper insurance
- Responsibility to pay taxes
- Paying utility bills
Let’s take a further look at these.
MAINTAINING PROPER INSURANCE
Landlords must always get their property insured to protect their investment against natural disasters, fire accidents, as well as slip-and-fall claims, among others. If you have already bought an insurance plan, make sure to pay the premium regularly.
There are main types of insurance plans all landlords must be familiar with: homeowner’s insurance and landlord’s insurance. Although they sound rather similar, the difference between them can be a bit difficult to understand.
However, to give you a brief overview, a homeowner’s insurance plan is designed to protect the personal residence and belongings of the policyholder against any damage. On the other hand, the landlord’s insurance protects the policyholder’s investment as a property owner.
Make sure to check out the key differences between homeowner’s insurance and landlord’s insurance in our detailed guide on the topic.
RESPONSIBILITY TO PAY TAXES
Paying taxes on the property is also one of the responsibilities of a landlord.
As per the law in Pakistan, property owners are legally obliged to pay the taxes that occur against their property, even if they have rented it out. In some cases, the tenant may have to pay the property tax, but they are allowed to ask for reimbursement later.
So, if you own a property in Pakistan, you have to pay property taxes to the government. If you put it up for rent, you will also have to pay income tax on the rent that you receive.
Feel free to take a look at the different types of property taxes and landlord-tenant law in Pakistan.
PAYING UTILITY BILLS
More often than not, it is the responsibility of the tenants to pay for their own utilities. However, in some cases, the utility charges are included in the monthly rent, which means the landlord is responsible for paying them before the due date every month.
It is one of the duties of a landlord towards the property to pay all the utility bills before the tenants lose their water, electricity or gas connection. Not paying the charges can also be considered a violation of the tenancy agreement, which can lead tenants to take legal action against the landlord.
Moreover, property maintenance and repairs are also among the legal and ethical responsibilities of landlords.