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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Houston Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesFor lots of people, Halloween is a night overflowing with costumes, parties, and candy. Except that 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. While it is the property owner’s responsibility to make their Houston rental in habitable condition, most leases require the tenant to keep the property clean and in perfect condition. Granted, if holiday pranksters have created clutter in the front garden, the problem of who is liable for the clean up may primarily depend on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has essentially produced.

Though landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, customarily, a property owner is not responsible for tidying up the aftermath of a Halloween prank. Common pranks tend to more of a nuisance than a legitimate problem. As an illustration, throwing toilet paper or smashing pumpkins on the driveway are both punishing and annoying bothers, but uncommonly do they elicit massive destruction. Even when the mess is not your tenant’s mistake, unless you are currently looking after the yard maintenance for them, they will have to learn to clear away the mess themselves.

Regardless, if the prank results in property damage, especially the type of damage that would cause the house to be uninhabitable, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make repairs. While soaping windows and egging a house can sound blameless enough, these pranks can create damage on the exterior surfaces of a home. Supposing that the vandalism has gone even beyond to include broken windows, damaged trees or shrubs, or even spray paint, despite that, it is unreasonable to expect a tenant to be burdened with the repair bill. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that emanates in dire property damage, but you will be required to decide if filing a claim is worthy of these issues.

You should always consider your tenant’s safety when debating responsibility. If the mess from the prank is excessive or would force your tenants to get on a ladder (such as disengaging toilet paper from the roof or a big tree), it is an excellent initiative to help them with this or hire someone to do it for you. There are an expected 36,000 deaths and more than 164,000 injuries attributed to falls from ladders in the United States each year. By tolerating residents to work on cleaning or repairs that include ladders, you are exposing yourself to a high degree of liability. Tenant safety must be a priority when making decisions about how to tidy up after Halloween pranks.

As a property titleholder, there are several things you can do to help deter Halloween pranksters. For instance, installing motion-sensing lighting through the home’s exterior may frighten any potential vandals. You can even encourage your tenants to leave exterior lights on throughout Halloween night. It’s also a good time to check your insurance coverage to establish that you will be safeguarded in the occurrence that Halloween shenanigans do transpire and result in property damage.

Although these are not complicated obligations, they do take time, and as they say, time is priceless. So we can make sure that your property is protected and vandals are kept at bay, evaluate contracting a Houston property manager to watch your property for you. At Real Property Management Heritage, we can gauge the eventuality of any Halloween mayhem and help you determine your next top choice. We can also ascertain that your residents will complete their obligations, should any setbacks need to be cleaned up. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call us at 832-449-5263.

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