Many of the investors we work with are unsure about what responsibilities they have, and what falls to the tenant living in their Chicago rental home.
There is a lot more to rental management than just collecting rent.
It really starts with the lease agreement. That lease is a contract you sign with your tenants to outline who is responsible for what. Generally, landlords are required to provide a safe and habitable home and the tenants are required to pay rent on time every month in order to live in that home.
However, things can get more complicated than that. If your investment property is a single-family home, for example, who is responsible for lawn care? You need to know who will be required to turn on utility accounts and what to do if you notice tenant damage during a routine inspection or a maintenance call.
At MF Cashflow Property Management, we have an open and transparent talk with our tenants before they move in. We want them to understand our expectations for how they’ll care for the property. Everyone needs to be on the same page if you want to have a good rental experience.
General Chicago Landlord Responsibilities: Maintenance and Repairs
As a landlord, you’ll need to make sure the property is safe, secure, and ready to be occupied by your tenant. You are also responsible for the general maintenance of the home, meaning it’s your money that will pay for things like heating systems, air conditioning, appliances, and all the plumbing and electricity in the home. You won’t necessarily be paying the electric and the water bills, but you do have to make sure there are outlets that provide electricity and faucets that deliver water.
You are also responsible for collecting rent, holding the tenant accountable to the lease terms, and following up on any maintenance or repair requests that your tenants make. You have to keep careful track of the security deposit and return it within the legal parameters at the end of the lease term.
Landlords are expected to understand all the local, state, and federal laws pertaining to a rental property. You cannot violate fair housing or rent control laws without risking court action and steep financial penalties.
You’re often required to share with your residents what their legal rights are. Lead paint disclosures are required with the lease, for example. With the country in the midst of Covid-19, there are new laws and regulations regarding tenants, rent collection, and evictions.
Professional Chicago Property Management Can Ease Your Burden
If this sounds like a lot – it is.
Investors often don’t have the time to take care of their properties the way they should be managed and maintained. As a personal investor, I was managing 28 rental homes on my own before I realized I’d make a lot more money by turning those units over to professionals.
Working with a Chicago property management company, you’ll know that all those responsibilities that fall to the landlord are being taken care of on your behalf by professionals who have the time, focus, and experience to do these things effectively and efficiently. Don’t waste your time and money. You’ll earn a lot more when your property is being managed professionally. You’ll also avoid expensive mistakes.
General Chicago Tenant Responsibilities
Tenants are responsible for paying rent on time and in accordance with your rent collection policy. They’re also responsible for paying any utilities and setting up accounts in their own name unless otherwise explained in the lease. They may be responsible for mowing the lawn and shoveling the snow, depending on how you’ve structured your lease agreement. If your property is in an HOA, your tenant must also follow any of the rules and regulations of that association.
While landlords are responsible for wear and tear maintenance on the home, you can expect your tenants to be tasked with taking care of minor things like changing furnace filters, smoke detector batteries, and replacing light bulbs. They are also responsible for fixing what they damage. If the tenant causes a toilet to overflow by flushing a non-flushable item, that’s the tenant’s financial responsibility. If a tenant’s child breaks a window by throwing a baseball through it, the tenant is responsible for fixing it.
Make sure your lease agreement is clear on what the tenant is responsible for maintaining and when the tenant is responsible for repairs.
If you’ve got any questions on this topic or you’d like to discuss our Chicago property management services, contact us at MF Cashflow, named one of the top 10 best Chicago Property Management companies. We offer property management in Chicago and the suburbs.