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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Idaho Falls Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesThere are a good deal of people who believe that Halloween is a night brimming with costumes, parties, and candy. But at the same time, 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 to 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 keep their Idaho Falls leasing in habitable condition, most leases require the tenant to keep the property scrubbed and in excellent condition. If holiday pranksters have created a mess in the front lawn, the idea of who is culpable for the cleanup may predominantly hinge on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has created.

While landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, normally, a property owner is not responsible for cleaning up the aftermath of a Halloween prank. Common pranks tend to be more of a nuisance than a legitimate problem. For instance, lobbing toilet paper or smashing pumpkins on the driveway are equally irritating and tortuous troubles, but rarely create permanent defacement. Even when the mess isn’t your tenant’s lapse, unless you are already doing the yard maintenance for them, then they should be obliged to start the clean up themselves.

Anyway, if the prank results in property damage, basically the types of damage that would make the house uninhabitable, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make repairs. Even if soaping the windows and egging a house can appear crimeless, these pranks can still leave damage on the exterior surfaces of a house. If the vandalism has gone even farther to include broken windows, damaged trees or shrubs, or even spray paint, it is unreasonable to expect a tenant to tolerate the expense of the reconstruction. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that occurs in serious property damage, but you will need to decide if filing a claim is gainful in this kind of circumstance.

You have to also consider your tenant’s safety when debating responsibility. If the dirtiness from the prank is excessive or would force your tenants to get on a ladder (like stripping toilet paper from the roof or a huge tree), it is a reasonable notion to help them with this or hire someone to do it for you. There are an estimated 36,000 deaths and more than 164,000 injuries attributed to falls from ladders in the United States each year. By allowing tenants to operate the cleaning and repairs that require ladders, you are exposing yourself to a high degree of liability. Tenant safety must be a priority when making decisions about how to spruce up after Halloween havoc.

Being the property owner, there are several things you can do to help deter Halloween pranksters. For example, installing motion-sensing lighting around the home’s exterior could scare away any potential vandals. You can also encourage your tenants to leave exterior lights on throughout Halloween night. It’s also a pivotal time to check your insurance coverage to ascertain that you will be protected in the circumstance that Halloween shenanigans do occur and cause property damage.

Even though these are not pressing engagements, they certainly take time, and as the saying goes, time is money. To ensure that your property is guarded and budding delinquents are off the radar, why not try signing up an Idaho Falls property manager to look out for you?. At Real Property Management Southeast Idaho, we can compute the effect of any Halloween mayhem and help you decide on your best next steps. We can also warrant that your tenants will fulfill their errands, should any predicaments need to be cleaned up. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call us at 208-522-2400.

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