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Old 06-07-2011, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. Metro Area
263 posts, read 348,769 times
Reputation: 191
Question Renting in MD and landlord/tenant areas of responsibility?

I've only ever rented in CA. Here whatever you rent the repairs are covered by the landlord. The tenant is responsible for regular utility bills such as heat, water, trash, etc. You may put in the lease that the tenant does the yardwork and keeps up the yard but that is usually the extent of any cost burden to the tenant. Any other form of maintainence issue is covered by the landlord.

I've been looking at Townhouses and duplex's and it seems that the tenant is responsible for any/all of the following for properties I'm seeing in MD:

Fireplace/Flue Cleaning
Frozen Water Pipe Damage
Gutter Cleaning
HVAC Maintanence
Lawn/Tree/Shrub Care
Filters/Fuses/Alarm Care
Minor Interior Maint
Minor Exterior Maint
Some Appliances/Equipment
Insurance
Windows and Screens

Is this the case? Lawn/Tree/Shrub care is fine - but one time the landlord in a property I rented wanted to remove a tree that was close to power lines - It was really expensive out here since the roots were under the house. I am sort of assuming that this level of care would still be landlord even in MD.

Honestly this list scares me - is this normal for MD? I mean the frozen water pipe damage alone can be very expensive (I grew up in MN so have encountered this before).

What is insurance? Homeowners? Rental?

Windows also seems a bit much - unless clearly I broke one or something. We had a break in at a house I rented once and the landlord/owner repaired the window as it was covered under his insurance. How do these things get defined?

I guess never having owned a home perhaps I am ignorant of the costs of these items. I am certainly willing to do basic stuff (I could replace a fuse or filter and clearly do yard stuff) but I'm not sure what interior/exterior "minor" maintanence consists of..and could see where items such as this could end up in semantics.

I'd really like a TH but these clauses scare me. One property also had a rent of $1700, Pet Deposit of $1700, and security deposit of $2200. When I add all that up AND the cost of potential repairs - well the apartment homes are looking better and better!

What is the norm?
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:05 PM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
16,597 posts, read 20,360,822 times
Reputation: 13583
Quote:
Originally Posted by JosephineBeth View Post
I've only ever rented in CA. Here whatever you rent the repairs are covered by the landlord. The tenant is responsible for regular utility bills such as heat, water, trash, etc. You may put in the lease that the tenant does the yardwork and keeps up the yard but that is usually the extent of any cost burden to the tenant. Any other form of maintainence issue is covered by the landlord.

Correct That basic standard applies in MD too

I've been looking at Townhouses and duplex's and it seems that the tenant is responsible for any/all of the following for properties I'm seeing in MD:

Fireplace/Flue Cleaning No
Frozen Water Pipe Damage No
Gutter Cleaning No
HVAC Maintanence No
Lawn Maybe to yes
Tree/Shrub Care No to maybe
Filters/Fuses/Alarm Care Maybe; to avoid being bugged
Minor Interior Maint too vague = NO
Minor Exterior Maint No
Some Appliances/Equipment No
Insurance Renters personal Property Ins
Windows and Screens Damage No

Honestly this list scares me - is this normal for MD? No. It's outrageous in fact.

What is insurance? Renters Insurance

I'd really like a TH but these clauses scare me.
One property also had a rent of $1700, Pet Deposit of $1700, and security deposit of $2200. They're nuts.

What is the norm? None of this is "norm"
keep looking for a real LL
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Old 06-07-2011, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. Metro Area
263 posts, read 348,769 times
Reputation: 191
Thank you!

I was quite worried! I've never heard of flat out leases that included all this. I have always negotiated things like lawn care and agreement on a procedure if something happens. In my last rental I put in a dishwasher and paid for the installation and upkeep of it but that was negotiated in the lease.

I have renters insurance and would maintain that of course. I've often changed filters and fuses (like you say not to be bugged) because it's so small (letting the LL know) but never been asked to do exterior maintanence of any sort or many of the other things that are listed!

I'll keep looking!
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Baltimore
1,592 posts, read 2,180,239 times
Reputation: 950
Yeah I would keep looking as well. I have a couple rentals and really just expect them to maintain the yard, replace batteries in the smoke alarms and change the filter in the HVAC system. They are paying the mortgage but it's still my property. Same reason you don't vacuum and wash a rental car before returning it.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Laurel, Maryland
835 posts, read 2,031,843 times
Reputation: 457
Wow, that's quite a list. I rent and the only thing we are required to do is mow the lawn, change bulbs, change batteries in smoke alarm, and replace air filter in furnace. I also trim low-hanging branches in the yard but that is my choice. Of course, we do alot more than this which is also our choice (painted, replaced bathroom fixtures, replaced a few electrical outlets, changed light fixtures, etc. -- all with landlord's blessing and reimbursement).

My landlord would have a fit if I climbed two stories high to clean gutters. Could there be a certain liability on the landlord if a tenant got hurt?
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Old 06-26-2011, 02:10 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,781 times
Reputation: 10
Default According to Mont. Co Lease.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
keep looking for a real LL
[SIZE=3][SIZE=3][LEFT]9. [/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=3][SIZE=3]Maintenance. [/SIZE][/SIZE][SIZE=3][SIZE=3]Tenant must generally maintain the rental dwelling and the garage, shed and other
appurtenances, if any, in a clean, sanitary and safe condition. Such maintenance includes the caulking of
bathtubs and sinks; replacement of HVAC filters, fuses, resetting of circuit breakers, batteries and light
bulbs; clearing of gutters and downspouts, window wells and drainage areas; cleaning of carpets, chimneys,
fireplaces and pools (as applicable); and cleaning of appliances including, but not limited to, stoves and
microwave ovens, refrigerators and freezers, garbage disposals, trash compactors, dishwashers, washing
machines, clothes dryers, window air conditioning units, humidifiers and de-humidifiers. Tenant is
responsible for general control and elimination of household pests including, but not limited to, fleas, ticks,
roaches, silverfish, ants, crickets and rodents. Tenant shall be responsible for replacement of broken glass
and screens. Tenant shall be responsible for cutting and watering the grass as necessary. Tenant is
responsible for keeping plumbing fixtures clean, sanitary and maintaining commode, drains and air gaps
free of blockages, and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly.
Tenant must not refinish or shellac the wood floors and shall keep them waxed. Tenant must keep at
least 80% of the floor area covered with rugs or carpeting. Tenant must keep grass trimmed and maintained;
must remove leaves and debris; must promptly remove ice and snow from all walks, steps and drives; and
must maintain grounds in good condition. Tenant must keep the premises heated and turn off water to
exterior spigots in cold weather to avoid freezing pipes.
Landlord/Agent is responsible for replacement of or repairs to structural elements of the building,
major appliances (including washers and dryers) and electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning
systems. Structural elements include, but are not limited to, the roof, floor and ceiling systems; bearing
walls and partitions; columns, lintels, girders and load-bearing beams; foundation systems and footings; all
interior stair-carriage systems; all necessary materials required for the joining, support, fastening or
attachment of the foregoing items; all components of the exterior designed to prevent infiltration of water
(i.e., paint, shingles, siding and trims); and hand railings, steps, sidewalks and driveways. In the event of a
bona fide emergency, and if notification to the Landlord/Agent is impractical or impossible, the Tenant may
request reasonable and necessary repairs to alleviate the emergency condition at Landlord's expense; Tenant[/LEFT]
must immediately notify the Landlord in writing of such repairs.
[/SIZE]
[/SIZE]
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Washington D.C. Metro Area
263 posts, read 348,769 times
Reputation: 191
OK I need help.

I am having a heck of a time finding a place that does not include the following or at least only some of them:

Fpl/flue Clean
Frz Wtr Pipe Dmg
Gutter Cleaning
Lawn/tree/shrub Care
Lbulbs/filters/fuses/alarm Care
Minor Ext Maint
Minor Int Maint
Window/screens

To be honest there is no way I'm signing a lease on a place with something as vague as "minor ext maint" in it! What does that mean? Who defines that? Legally this could really compromise me because any tenant could be put into a position where the definition could be in question - I don't do vague in leases. I want it explicitly spelled out so everyone is clear on his/her obligation.

I'm kind of flying blind here as none of these types of things are ever asked for out here in CA. These are almost all LL responsiblities. Yes to lawn care etc -- and utilities of course and fuses and stuff like that. No to maintainence - that is absolutely LL not tenant out here. Clearly if there is a hole in the screen I'd fix that...but windows? Unless I broke it I don't understand why that's my responsibility.

And the frozen water pipe. No way! I was in DC area during the snowstorm last January and some of the electric providers took DAYS to restore power. In that situation where I am legally bound to a frozen pipe issue - outside of my control -- I'm not assuming that level of responsibility unless I purchase a place.

I'm now limited to apartments and condo's which generally do not carry these type conditions. It's really only TH that I'm running into it on.

It's very discouraging. Are there websites I'm missing to look? Are these things negotiable? Can I ask that they be spelled out explicitly in a lease?

MD Landlord - can I ask (because what you have in your above post would be o.k. with me) if I'm seeing these things listed is the above lease conditions what will actually be signed? Maybe I am interpreting things differently? I would, for example, say yes to assuring that water is turned off to outside if it looks like freezing or whatever - as that makes sense..is that what they mean by frzn wtr pipe damage?

Maybe it's a cost thing? Out here (and I'm not trying to say one is better...but this is all I know) the rent is set so that any/all things barring something major can be taken care of with what you pay. The LL makes sure the rent covers all the costs associated with upkeep, maintainence, etc. I just don't get paying rent and THEN paying for maintainence. I am not going to get on a ladder and clean out gutters (I'm 5 ft and I am afraid of heights) so some of these things I'd have to hire someone to do which makes the costs prohibitive.

The last few I've talked to had a couple that also required a DEDUCTIBLE on repairs! So the tenant pays a $250-500 deductible to have a repair done? That is insane to me! And these are not private party - they are being run through property management and RE companies. So it's not some strange one off thing with an individual owner.

I don't know what to do.

Last edited by JosephineBeth; 06-29-2011 at 11:07 AM..
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Baltimore
1,592 posts, read 2,180,239 times
Reputation: 950
Quote:
Originally Posted by JosephineBeth View Post
OK I need help.

I am having a heck of a time finding a place that does not include the following or at least only some of them:

Fpl/flue Clean
Frz Wtr Pipe Dmg
Gutter Cleaning
Lawn/tree/shrub Care
Lbulbs/filters/fuses/alarm Care
Minor Ext Maint
Minor Int Maint
Window/screens

To be honest there is no way I'm signing a lease on a place with something as vague as "minor ext maint" in it! What does that mean? Who defines that? Legally this could really compromise me because any tenant could be put into a position where the definition could be in question - I don't do vague in leases. I want it explicitly spelled out so everyone is clear on his/her obligation.

I'm kind of flying blind here as none of these types of things are ever asked for out here in CA. These are almost all LL responsiblities. Yes to lawn care etc -- and utilities of course and fuses and stuff like that. No to maintainence - that is absolutely LL not tenant out here. Clearly if there is a hole in the screen I'd fix that...but windows? Unless I broke it I don't understand why that's my responsibility.

And the frozen water pipe. No way! I was in DC area during the snowstorm last January and some of the electric providers took DAYS to restore power. In that situation where I am legally bound to a frozen pipe issue - outside of my control -- I'm not assuming that level of responsibility unless I purchase a place.

I'm now limited to apartments and condo's which generally do not carry these type conditions. It's really only TH that I'm running into it on.

It's very discouraging. Are there websites I'm missing to look? Are these things negotiable? Can I ask that they be spelled out explicitly in a lease?

MD Landlord - can I ask (because what you have in your above post would be o.k. with me) if I'm seeing these things listed is the above lease conditions what will actually be signed? Maybe I am interpreting things differently? I would, for example, say yes to assuring that water is turned off to outside if it looks like freezing or whatever - as that makes sense..is that what they mean by frzn wtr pipe damage?

Maybe it's a cost thing? Out here (and I'm not trying to say one is better...but this is all I know) the rent is set so that any/all things barring something major can be taken care of with what you pay. The LL makes sure the rent covers all the costs associated with upkeep, maintainence, etc. I just don't get paying rent and THEN paying for maintainence. I am not going to get on a ladder and clean out gutters (I'm 5 ft and I am afraid of heights) so some of these things I'd have to hire someone to do which makes the costs prohibitive.

The last few I've talked to had a couple that also required a DEDUCTIBLE on repairs! So the tenant pays a $250-500 deductible to have a repair done? That is insane to me! And these are not private party - they are being run through property management and RE companies. So it's not some strange one off thing with an individual owner.

I don't know what to do.
I think I can chime in here. The repair deductible is typically a provision to encourage the tenant to fix small problems on their own. By small, I mean toilet clogged, small hole in drywall etc. If there is an actual defect or issue that isn't because of your negligence or caused directly by you (holes in walls...) that is on the landlord to fix. It isn't your property and you shouldn't be required to pay for it.

The lease has provisions outlined in it. Like any contract, contingencies like the aforementioned can be struck by either party before it is signed and ratified. If there's something you don't like, cross it out and if they agree to it, you are protected. The reason all these items are mentioned is because someone, at some point had to push the envelope as a tenant and what they are responsible for. By laying these all out in the beginning, the LL is offering themselves a bit of protection and coverage.

If you're having difficulty finding rentals which it sounds like is the case, feel free to contact me and I can offer some assistance.
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