Common area maintanence for duplexes.

5 Replies

All of my SFR tenants are responsible for lawn care and snow removal. How do you duplex owners get these chores done? Who is responsible.....you or the tenants?

I am assuming since it's a multi family, the owner would be responsible for the maintenance of the yard/snow & common areas (hallways/staircase).

@Chuck Bredemus

Welcome to BP.  You have found a great resource for leveraging the experience of other RE investors and landlords.

On our duplex properties, I take care of the lawn care.  But I do not take care of snow shoveling.  On our SFHs the tenant takes care of the lawn care and snow.  On all properties, we take care of cleaning the gutters.

What we have learned is that by mowing the grass we have been able to take care of most maintenance before it becomes an issue because of our presence at the properties.

Is it side by side ?   If they each have their own yard then they should maintain. If it is shared then I would maintain for lawn as long as it is clear of playthings etc. Make that a condition. For the single families we do it for (students, and next to the multi) we insist on clearing the property for the mowing or we will stop. If we had a neighborhood single family I would not do it.   For all single families even the students they do snow and I highly recommend that since they are responsible no one can say you did not get to it in time. It is their problem. For our multi we have someone take care of the snow.

Thanks for the replies.  Dan, in the case of a single, common sidewalk. do you leave it up to the tenants to work out who does the shoveling (or hires someone to do it). Some folks should not be shoveling heavy snow in the cold. If a tenant breaks a hip or has a heart attack, does that open the owner up to liability issues? Also, it seems like depending on someone to actually show up and clear the snow is creating one more opportunity for my phone to be ringing. 

In my opinion (I am not giving legal advice) - shoveling the snow opens you up to liability if someone was to slip and fall.  I would leave it up to the tenants to hire someone to shovel the walks or do it themselves.  I would make it clear in the lease if needed.  Consult your lawyer and insurance company for their professional advice.

Also be aware of local laws that may require you to clear public sidewalks in some areas.  Also refer to your local government offices and your lawyer for legal advice.

I have never had an issue with the snow.  Tenants seem to help each other when needed.

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