Tenants are typically responsible for ensuring their property stays sanitary, clean and in good repair. A landlord is generally not responsible for making any repairs caused by the tenant’s own fault or if their guests damage anything. However, if a tenant notices an issue and fails to report it to the landlord, the tenant may be held liable for additional damage that would not have occurred had the tenant made a timely complaint.There are some simple maintenance tasks that tenants can perform to help resolve minor issues without making an appointment for service. In case of an emergency, dial 911.
American Beachside Brokers has provided the following maintenance tips and guide for tenants to troubleshoot problems:
Potential charges to Tenant
- The cost for any maintenance repairs that are deemed to have been caused by your actions or negligence.
- Missed scheduled appointment.
- Office key copy to the property does not work.
- Check you fuse box for tripped breaker switch.
- Locate the GFCI outlets (outlets with the test and reset buttons) and press the reset button on all GFCI outlets.
- Look for GFCIs in bathrooms, kitchens, garages and on the home’s exterior. Test and reset every GFCI you can find.
- Reset the breaker by moving it to the full “off” position and then back to “on.”
- Check appliances. Unplug all of them in the unit. Reset breaker, plug in one appliance at a time to find the faulty appliance.
- Contact your power company to inquire if there are power outages in your neighborhood.
- If the reset button doesn’t work, schedule a maintenance request.
AC not cooling
- If the air filter has not been changed in 30 days, change it. Remember per your lease the filter must be changed monthly.
- If the digital thermostat is not working check/change the battery.
- If you notice ice on the coils at the unit, turn off AC and submit maintenance request.
Appearance of Mold
- Refer to the EPA booklet issued when you were leased first – A Brief guide to Mold and Moisture in your Home
- If problem persist, after following suggestions submit a maintenance request
No Hot Water
- Check to see if hot water tank is leaking
- Check fuse box for tripped breaker switch
- Check pilot light on water heater, if not lit, contact Gas company first. It's free.
- If it’s a gas water heater, check to see if pilot light is out, if you can’t turn it on, call your gas provider for instructions.
If these steps do not work, please proceed with a maintenance request through your tenant portal.
Please Do Not do the following:
- Do not use liquid drain cleaner in the kitchen sink or garbage disposal.
- Do not let excess food, potato peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc. go down the garbage disposal. (They will stick to any sludge in the pipe and quickly create a clog.)
- Is the garbage disposal making a humming sound? Run your hand along the bottom of the unit for a small button. Once you find the button, press it to reset the disposal.
- Is the garbage disposal humming and not turning. Look for the disposal wrench attached to the disposal use it to turn the bottom of the disposal counter clockwise. Then press the reset button on the bottom of the disposal.
- Check for blockage in the sink around the blades. Before putting your hands or utensil down the sink, make sure the unit is turned off. ** Never put these items down the disposal: chicken bones, onion peels, potato skins, grease, and corn husk! **
- Grind lemon peels and ice to help prevent odors. You can also put in a couple of handfuls of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar. Let that set in the disposal hopper with the unit turned off. After it’s done foaming, rinse it down the drain with running water
Dishwasher won’t turn on
- Flip the wall switch near the sink
- Check to ensure that the lock is engaged
- Check timer setting to ensure it is aligned properly
Clogged or Slow Sink (without using harsh chemical drain cleaners)
- Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain, pour in ½ cup baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then pour a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup hot water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Flush one more time with pot of boiling water.
- For clogged bathtub and shower drains-pour boiling water down the drain to unclog hair and soap build-up.
- Use a plunger with short, quick motions. You may need rubber gloves; it can get messy!
- Pour bucket of water to clear out.
Toilet Runs Constantly
- Check for kink or disconnect of lift chain from the handle lever which is preventing the flap to seat properly.
- If unable to stop toilet run – turn off water to the toilet using the knob behind the toilet until maintenance is able to access the problem. This will prevent high water bills.
Water puddling around toilet
- Submit maintenance request through the tenant portal and call and text office immediately.
Washing Machine Not Working Properly or Not at All
- Check whether the washing machine taps are turned on at the wall.
- Check if appliance at the wall is turned on.
- Check if lid is closing properly.
- Check if settings knob is pointed directly on the desired settings
- If the machine has stopped halfway through cycle you may have overloaded the machine and caused it to be out of balance. Try redistributing the wash evenly in the drum.
- Don’t overload the machine
- ONLY use laundry detergent NEVER use dishwashing detergent
Dryer is Not Working
- Dryer can automatically shut down due to overload of lint in the filter Check whether the filter needs to be cleaned out. Remember to always clean the filter out. *Failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of dryer fires. 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and caused deaths, injuries, and millions of dollars in property loss.
Dryer Duct Cleaning:
- It is the Tenant’s responsibility to maintain a clean dryer (clean the removable lint trap)
- If the duct is clogged through to the outside of the home, please open a maintenance request through your tenant portal.
Refrigerator Not Staying Cool or Freezing
- Check the thermostat to make sure it hasn’t been turned way down by mistake.
- Be sure the vents on the back of the freezer compartment aren’t blocked by boxes of ice cream or frozen food packages-the vents have to be clear for cold air to circulate.
- Vacuum the coils under or behind the fridge. Clogged coils can cause poor cooling
- Clean the seals around the refrigerator doors to keep cool air from escaping
Smoke CO2 detector beeping or not working
- If your smoke alarm or CO2 detector is going off, please go outside and call 911 immediately!
- If your smoke alarm or CO2 detector is beeping and needs a new battery, please replace the battery, this is tenant responsibility.Do Not Remove Detector. It is required by law.
Leak In Ceiling
- Isolate when and where leak is coming from before calling for maintenance.
- If leak occurs when toilet is flushed, turn off water to toilet and call the office.
- If leak occurs when a bath is taken, use shower until maintenance can fix leak.
American Beachside Brokers wants you to remember the most important thing : your landlord is responsible for the maintenance and repairs for your home(per your lease). However these tips will help you address issues better and more efficiently for you and your landlord.
Tenant Breaking a Lease: What to Do?
- Use this guide to understand when breaking a lease is permitted, how to add terms for breaking a lease into your lease agreement and what happens if a tenant breaks a lease.
- Know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord
- Review the lease with your tenant
- Understand the reasons for breaking a lease Include terms for breaking a lease
- Require your tenant to give notice in writing When a lease is signed, you and your tenant agree to uphold the obligations set forth in the agreement. Should a tenant break the lease early, it’s important as a landlord to understand the consequences outlined in the lease, as well as the tenant’s circumstances for breaking it. Here are steps to help you deal with a situation where a tenant breaks a lease. Note: This guide is for informational purposes only.
- Know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord A tenant breaking a lease early might put you in a tight spot, but you can always seek legal advice. Local attorneys know the ins and outs of the landlord laws in your area and can help you determine the right course of action.
- Be sure that you and the tenant read through your lease agreement carefully. Landlords and tenants alike can miss details in the fine print, and it’s in your best interest to be fully informed about your lease as well as local laws.
- Review the lease with your tenant. Ensure new tenants know that a lease agreement is legally binding before they sign it. Review and sign it with your tenant. Many tenants know they’re responsible for the entire lease term, but some could assume there’s flexibility.
- Reasons for breaking a lease early typically do not include: Loud neighbors Accepting a new job in another area Inconvenient parking Moving in with a partner Understand the reasons for breaking a lease Some places allow tenants to terminate a lease without penalty under certain circumstances. Knowing these circumstances can help you understand the correct action to take should your tenant ask to cut their lease short.
- Legal reasons to break a lease in some areas may include: Breaking a lease for military duty Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a military service member who receives orders to move or deploy may be allowed to break the lease. Typically, service members may be required to provide a landlord with 30 days’ notice in writing and a copy of their military orders. Many states and cities have their own regulations for military service members. If you are unsure of the laws in your area, consult a local attorney. Breaking a lease because of unlivable conditions In some areas, if you have neglected to make needed repairs or otherwise failed to provide a safe and livable property, your tenant may have a good cause for breaking their lease. Check local and state laws and consider speaking with a local attorney. You may also be required to pay moving expenses. Breaking a lease because of domestic violence Some states may allow victims of domestic violence to break a lease without penalty by providing the landlord a written notice.
- Check your local and state laws and consult a local attorney if you want to learn more about the rights of victims of domestic violence. Breaking a month-to-month lease If your tenant has month-to-month or at-will tenancy, the amount of notice a tenant is required to provide you before breaking the lease will be subject to local law. Be sure to consult a local attorney to learn more about month-to-month leases in your area. Include terms for breaking a lease Some leases include an early termination clause which outlines what is to occur if the renter ends the lease early. You can decide whether to include such a clause. If you don’t, consider clearly outlining the consequences for breaking a lease in the lease agreement. These could include: Allowing the renter to find a subletter (if you choose) Forfeiting the security deposit Paying the rent balance for the remaining months Subleasing clause The renter may want to find someone to finish out the lease as a sublet. There are pros and cons to subleasing. Consider a subleasing clause that requires the landlord’s written permission before a renter can hand over the property to someone else. It is a good way to allow for a tenant to leave a lease early and ensure that you still have a reliable renter. It’s also possible they’ll find a replacement renter. If all goes well, you’ll sign a new lease with the new renter — a win-win all around. Cost to break a lease A lease typically spells out the financial consequences for a renter leaving early, as permitted by your local laws and regulations. At least one month’s rent is the typical minimum for breaking a lease. In some cases, the tenant may be required to pay the remaining rent for the rest of the term. Be sure that you understand the terms of any lease agreement you are entering into, and if you are unsure as to any specifics consult a local attorney. For example: If four months are left on a lease, the lease agreement could require the departing tenant to pay rent for those months or for as long as the property remains vacant. But many places require you to find a new tenant in a reasonable amount of time, rather than purposely leaving a property open to collect rent from the vacating party. If you are unsure as to whether you are expected to mitigate damages, consult a local attorney.
- Require your tenant to give notice in writing Regardless of whether a tenant has a good reason for breaking a lease, ask them to provide a written request to terminate early, detailing their reasons for leaving. Explain to your tenant the course of action for ending the lease early as required by your rental agreement. It’s wise for every landlord to consult a local lawyer to become familiar with any local lease requirements and landlord-tenant laws so they can be prepared if their renter breaks a lease..