Rental properties can be a lot of work and knowing who’s in charge of what tasks can be daunting. Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, you have to know your rights so that you’re not spending money on something that is not your responsibility.
To make you feel more at ease, we’ve compiled this guide that contains information regarding several situations where roof damage can happen. You’ll show when it’s the responsibility of the landlord to fix the roof and when its the tenants’. We’ll also talk about tax deductions and when you should hire a roofing contractor.
In most cases, the landlord is responsible for handling repairs and other maintenance tasks, but let’s break down some aspects of responsibility in caring for a rental property.
Who Handles Roof Repairs on Rental Properties?
In many cases, your landlord is responsible for arranging roof repairs. This is especially true if roof damage is bad enough to make the home unsafe.
If the tenant causes the damage, they may be partially or fully responsible for paying for damages. For cosmetic damages, for example, a landlord is not responsible because it does not affect the property’s safety.
What Is a Landlord Responsible for Fixing in a Rental Property?
To begin with, it’s essential to ensure the building is up to code. The landlord should take care of this before anyone lives inside the property.
Other maintenance responsibilities include:
- Regularly discarding trash
- Pest control
- Structural integrity and weather protection
- Heat and air conditioning
- Electrical wiring
Mold can be a nuisance and a health hazard, but it’s the landlord’s responsibility to fix it if the cause is water damage or a leak. If the tenant has not been cleaning the space well and causes mold from excessive moisture, it’s their responsibility.
In some cases, mold can be a roofing issue. It can be from an unsealed attic, poorly installed insulation, or even no insulation. In the case of an unsealed attic or roofing damage, a roofing contractor is the best bet to solve the issue.
Who Is Responsible for Roof Repairs on a Townhouse?
Townhouse repair responsibility can be tricky because they have several homes under a single roof. So who is responsible when the roof gets damaged over a specific part of the building?
If the townhouse is a rental, the landlord is once again responsible for making repairs. The tenant must communicate with the landlord to ensure repairs can begin immediately. However, if the tenant is responsible for the damage, such as messing with the shingles to install a satellite dish, they are responsible for paying for the damage.
If you own a townhouse, you’re solely responsible for damages. However, if you share ownership over a townhouse unit, all the owners should pitch in to pay for damages.
When Can a Tenant Handle Roof Repairs on a Rental Property?
Sometimes, tenants can get written permission from their landlord to make certain repairs on a rental property. However, roof damage counts as structural damage, and the tenant making the repairs themselves could lead to liability issues, questions of ownership, and possibly cause further damage.
In most cases, it’s best to let a professional roofing contractor take care of the repairs.
Are Roof Repairs Tax Deductible?
Landlords may have a tough time during tax season if they don’t know whether to write a roof contractor job as a repair or an improvement. You can consider a roof leak as a deductible on your taxes, but replacing the whole roof is more of an improvement than a repair, so it is not deductible.
To talk about the individual deductibles, what needs depreciation over time, and so on would take a long time. Either way, landlords must research what roof work counts as tax deductible. These things can change yearly between states, so always double-check before filing your taxes.
How Long Does a Landlord Have to Repair a Leaking Roof?
The answer to this question can vary from state to state and even year to year. This also depends on the severity of the leak. For example, it’s not a severe leak if you can catch the leakage with a bucket for a few days. It can become a larger issue if the bucket fills up faster, and you need to empty it regularly.
Water damage is especially detrimental to the building since mold can grow in spaces where water gathers. If left unchecked, mold could even pose a health hazard. If you suspect you have water damage, check it out to be sure no mold has grown, and always get a roofing contractor to fix a leaking roof.
In most cases, a landlord should repair a leaking roof within 30 days. However, for more significant problems, it’s better to fix the leak within a day or two to avoid larger issues.
When Can a Landlord Make Tenants Pay for Repairs?
You’ll usually find a list of things you’re responsible for as a tenant in your lease. This also includes items that the landlord will take care of.
The tenant will only have to pay for damages if they had a direct hand in the accident. Whatever the problem, the tenant should notify the landlord so repairs can begin immediately. Procrastinating on repairs can lead to more significant issues that the tenant may be responsible for since they should have informed the landlord of the issue.
In short, the tenant must do their part to keep the unit or house habitable. This means letting contractors and handypersons inside to service the unit, not overloading electrical outlets, not flushing the wrong items down the toilet, and so on.
Who Is Responsible for Roof Repairs After a Natural Disaster?
Sometimes, natural disasters like heavy rain, fire, or lightning can damage or even destroy your roof. In this case, the tenant can vacate temporarily while a roofing contractor fixes the roof. That said, the landlord is not required to pay for temporary housing, but they will more than likely be responsible for the roof repairs.
Most landlords require their tenants to purchase renters’ insurance. This will cover the repair or replacement of the tenant’s belongings. Otherwise, the landlord is responsible for repairing the building with the help of a roofing contractor or other repairers.
That said, some renters’ insurance policies can cover roof damage and replacement costs, so re-read the fine print to make sure you know what your policy covers. Professional roofing contracts are used to fill insurance claims and will help you navigate all the paperwork.
When Should You Call for Roof Repairs?
Once you notice that you need roof repairs, you must call your local roofing contractor as soon as possible. They can assess your property for free, give an estimate, and schedule a repair at the next available time for you.
Often, the tenant is only responsible for informing their landlord of the issue, and the landlord will make arrangements with the roofing contractor.
Now you have a better idea of what are the responsibilities of the tenants and the ones of the landlord. Generally speaking, the landlord is responsible for repairing the damage if the cause is normal wear and tear or a natural disaster. The tenant will have to pay the costs if they were the source of the damage.
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