As we’ve mentioned in the past, gutters need to be cleaned at least twice a year. However, when it comes to rental properties we’ve noticed some confusion about who is responsible for keeping the gutters in good shape.
Keep in mind we aren’t lawyers and we’re not equipped to give legal advice on landlord-tenant disputes. We’re just central Florida gutter guys who have been around the block a few times, which means we have a few thoughts to share.
Leases are contracts, and a contract can demand just about anything.
There is no “standard lease,” and while there are laws governing property leases these laws do not necessarily stop your landlord from trying to make you responsible for gutter cleaning.
If you don’t read through your lease or if you knowingly sign on that dotted line after spotting some sort of gutter cleaning clause then, yes, you could be held legally and financially responsible for the state of your gutters. And since letting gutters get out of control can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, then you might just want to take a deep breath, accept the fact that you agreed to a bad deal, and call someone to clean those gutters for you safely so you don’t have to get out there on a ladder. Why? Because you’ve signed a contract, and contracts are enforceable.
However, if you are a landlord, including this clause might not be the brightest idea you’ve ever had.
You might think, Oh, I’ll just slip this in here and save some cash on gutter cleaning services.
However, many renters won’t consider paying someone to do this job. They will jump up on the ladder themselves, which opens you up to a whole host of liability issues should they get themselves injured while trying to do this job. And while it’s not a complicated job, it is, in fact, still a job that puts them up on a ladder. If your lease didn’t specify that they had to hire a professional to get the job done then you have to account for a certain percentage of DIY-minded renters who would rather risk anything than pay even one extra dime maintaining your property.
So let’s say that tenant falls.
Paying for a tenant’s medical bills and lost wages will cost you far more than paying to have the gutters cleaned professionally on a biannual basis. You may even have to pay for these injuries out of pocket, since you probably do not have any insurance policy which will actually cover a tenant’s participation in that kind of work.
In fact, those are the kinds of mishaps that could ruin you. You might even end up having to sell your property and other assets in order to cover the costs.
If you really don’t want to deal with cleaning the gutters, there is a better solution than injuries and protracted legal battles.
If you are a landlord, take note. If you are a tenant, consider sharing this information with your landlord.
Flo-free leaf guards can reduce your need to clean gutters. It’s still necessary to brush debris off of them every now and then, but for the most part they allow gutters to function without all of the work.
This might just be the solution that keeps everyone happy while keeping tenants off ladders. It’s a smart financial choice too as the system will pay for yourself as you are able to skip gutter cleaning sessions (and as you are able to dodge costly liability issues).
If you are a landlord in the Tampa metro area and you’d like to explore this possibility, give us a call. We’ll be happy to tell you more about how this gutter guard system works and why it might be a great solution for your tenant properties.