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Don’t Fence Me In: What Are the Boundaries for Your Hurricane Rental Property Fence?

Hurricane Rental Property with a Beautifully Well-Maintained FenceThere are plenty of good reasons why a Hurricane rental property owner should think about putting up a fence on their property. Many renters are now choosing homes that have a fenced yard; it is a popular draw among long-term renters. But, when a fence gets broken, who then should have to pay to repair it? The answer to that question depends on two things: the condition of the fence upon move in and how the fence was damaged.

If the fence throughout the property is in a solid state but broken by your tenant or their guests, your tenant is normally liable for repairs. However, if the property’s fence is damaged by weather or another outside source or if the fence was neglected or falling down upon move in, the responsibility for repairs typically belongs to the property owner. The best way to determine responsibility for fence repairs is to include specific, clear language in your lease agreements related to property damage.

What is the Current Condition of the Fence?

No matter where your rental property is located, there are state and local laws that require property owners to keep their rental homes habitable and up to code. The focus of these regulations is often on the house itself, which must have sufficient weatherproofing and feature safe and functioning heat, electric, and plumbing systems.

But ensuring a house is fit for compliance with the code would also include the yard and any exterior structures. For this reason, and regardless of whether they are decorative or important to the structure, fences are considered part of the property and must be kept in good repair. A broken-down fence is a safety hazard and creates unwelcome liabilities for a landlord.

What is the State of Wear and Tear?

Fences need regular maintenance and repair, the same as any other feature of a rental home. If the fence around your rental home is looking worn or hasn’t been repaired for a long time, it is the responsibility of the property owner to return the fence to good condition. This is true even if a fence becomes further damaged due to tenant misuse.

Broken or collapsed sections of fencing is a serious safety hazard for which the property owner is responsible. This includes damage caused by severe weather or vandalism. These situations should be covered by a landlord’s insurance policy, which means that it is the landlord’s responsibility to make the necessary repairs.

Who Caused the Damage?

In case the fence surrounding your rental home is in top condition but your renter or one of their guests damages it, the tenant is understood to be the one responsible for repairs. Such damage must go beyond normal wear and tear, such as hitting the fence with their car or if tenants or guests accidentally break slats or l panels.

Almost all leases state that when it comes to a renter causing damage to the property or lets others to do so, that renter is then accountable to pay for repairs. If your tenant refuses to do so, most landlord/tenant laws allow the landlord to take charge from the security deposit.

Ensuring that a complete and detailed move-in/move-out checklist is filled out between every tenant is one way of documenting the condition of a rental home’s fence. This protects property owners from claims of existing repairs, as well as the tenant from accusations of negligence. When you hire Real Property Management Southern Utah, you can be confident that such steps have been taken and that every aspect of your Hurricane rental home is being observed routinely. If you are interested in learning more contact us online or by phone at 435-673-4242.

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