9 Responsibilities of a Landlord vs. Superintendent

November 12, 2018

Property owners know firsthand the time that’s required to manage a rental unit. Doing everything on your own is a big undertaking. Anyone with a few or several properties may have discovered the benefits of having help.

Help comes in many forms.

Whether a personal assistant, superintendent, property manager, or company like Blueground. We take on all the responsibilities of renting your property for you. This includes, but is not limited to, screening tenants, handling maintenance requests, and cleaning the unit.

But, if you decide to seek help from a superintendent, here’s what you should know.


What is the difference between a landlord and a superintendent?

A landlord is the owner of real estate property who rents their home, condo, or apartment to tenants.

In contrast, a superintendent is in charge of repairs and maintenance of the building. When tenants have a repair request, the superintendent is the first person contacted.

In some instances, he or she may live in the building to respond to tenant requests and be available for any building emergencies.


Landlord responsibilities

1. Providing a habitable home

Above all else, landlords are responsible for providing a home that’s habitable for the tenant. This is also referred to as the warranty of habitability.

Habitable means, fit to live in, free of health and safety hazards, and in compliance with all local and state building codes.

For a unit to be habitable, it must provide these living conditions:

  • Running water
  • A lock on the front door
  • Working electricity or gas
  • Sanitary grounds
  • Functioning appliances
  • A working bathroom
  • A heater

2.  Making repairs

The landlord is responsible for handling all the home repairs. There are cases where tenants are responsible, but only financially. In these cases, the tenant would have had to cause the damage.

Although at fault, tenants should never actually make the repairs on their own.

So, leave that up to the landlord to arrange.

Man drilling and repairing a door

Examples of repairs that are the responsibility of the landlord include:

  • Maintenance work is necessary to keep the unit habitable, or livable
  • Defects in the rental unit should get returned to their original condition, or better

Landlords who don’t make the required repairs can be liable if their tenant suffers an injury.

3. The security deposit

The landlord returns the security deposit back to the tenants once the lease has expired. Any damages above normal wear and tear will get subtracted from the deposit amount.

If part or all the deposit is withheld, the tenant must receive an itemized list of actual expenses.

4. Additional responsibilities

  • Provides a weather-protected unit
  • Inspects the unit before leasing it to a new tenant
  • Screens prospective tenants
  • Provides proper notice to a tenant before entering the unit
  • If evicting a tenant, they must legally comply with the eviction process
  • Arranges the timely completion of all maintenance or repairs at the request of a tenant
  • Repairs can get contracted out, or given to the superintendent if the landlord has hired one


Superintendent responsibilities

If a landlord chooses to hire a superintendent, they will be responsible for property maintenance and tenant concerns.

5. Maintaining cleanliness of the building

The superintendent also called the ‘super,’ must keep all the common areas clean. This includes:

  • Picking up and removing the trash
  • Sweeping and mopping the halls and stairways
  • Making sure all walkways are clear and free of safety hazards

6.  Removing snow

In cities where it snows during the winter, the super is in charge of shoveling it. Moreover, this responsibility includes:

  • Knowing when the snow needs to get shoveled
  • Shoveling snow from driveways and walkways
  • Salting icy areas to protect snow from freezing

7. Responding to tenant concerns

When a tenant requests a repair, they contact the superintendent first. Only when the super is uncertain how to proceed with a repair, will they contact the landlord.

Hence, the landlord doesn’t have to spend a lot of time dealing with trivial manners, only major ones.

8. Showing the rental unit

Man and woman looking for a property

The landlord can ask the superintendent to show the unit to a prospective tenant.

After showing the unit, the super collects the rental application for the landlord. The landlord will decide who is going to occupy the space. The decision is usually based on the screening and interview process performed.

9. Maintenance issues

A superintendent is an asset because of their knowledge and ability to make home repairs.

So, landlords entrust them to at least handle simple fixes. This can include, changing the lock on a door, replacing a hinge on a broken cabinet, and fixing a leak in the bathroom.

With the sheer number of responsibilities, a landlord saves themselves time by hiring a superintendent. Having eyes, ears and an extra set of hands-on the property can provide any landlord with a level of comfort.

As a landlord, you could instead turn your properties over to Blueground. We handle the bulk of the property maintenance and repair tasks.

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