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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Jamaica Plains Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesFor numerous people, Halloween is a night stacked with costumes, parties, and candy. However, Halloween also tends to bring out the mischief-makers, those who take advantage of the holiday to pull pranks and cause mayhem. When those pranks create messes or even damage your rental property, it can be difficult to know who is responsible for the clean-up and repairs. Despite that it is the property owner’s responsibility to have their Jamaica Plains rental in habitable condition, most leases require the tenant to keep the property spotless and in exceptional state. Supposing holiday pranksters have created a horrible mess in the front yard, the uncertainty of who is liable for the clean up may depend on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has genuinely caused.

Though landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, basically, a property owner is not responsible for clearing up the aftermath of a Halloween prank. Common pranks tend to be more of a nuisance than a legitimate problem. For instance, hurling toilet paper or smashing pumpkins on the driveway are both disappointing and annoying, but hardly trigger difficult problems. If the mess is not your tenant’s blunder and unless you are previously managing the yard maintenance for them, they will have to figure out how to clean up the mess themselves.

Nonetheless, if the prank results in property damage, especially the type of damage that would make the house uninhabitable, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make repairs. Although soaping windows and egging a house can look somewhat innocent, these pranks can bring about damage to the exterior surface of a house. Assuming the vandalism is extensive and includes broken windows, damaged trees or shrubs, or even spray paint, nevertheless, it is unreasonable to expect a tenant to suffer the cost of the repairs. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that results in critical property damage, but you will expected to decide whether filing a claim is worth your time in these cases.

You will also need to consider your tenant’s safety when debating responsibility. If the untidiness from the prank is excessive or would force your tenants to get on a ladder (such as emptying toilet paper from the roof or a lanky tree), it is imperative to aid them with this or hire someone to do it for you. There are approximated 36,000 deaths and more than 164,000 injuries attributed to falls from ladders in the United States each year. By letting tenants complete the housekeeping or repairs that require ladders, you are exposing yourself to a high degree of liability. Tenant safety must be a priority when making decisions when cleaning after a Halloween mess.

Being the property holder, there are several things you can do to help deter Halloween pranksters. For instance, installing motion-sensing lighting near the home’s exterior could deter any budding vandals. You can additionally encourage your tenants to leave exterior lights on during Halloween night. It’s also an important period to check your insurance coverage to ensure that you will be insured if Halloween shenanigans do result in property damage.

Although these are not arduous duties, they do take a while and time is money. To help keep your property guarded and delinquents at bay, contemplate appointing a Jamaica Plains property manager to keep tabs on your property for you. At Real Property Management Boston, we can estimate the outcome of any Halloween destruction and aid you in deciding your next steps. We can also assure that your tenants will finish their duties, should any messes require to be cleaned up. To discover more about our assistance, contact us online or call us at 617-522-0099.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.