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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Gilbert Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesFor a lot of people, Halloween is a night bursting with costumes, parties, and candy. Still, Halloween also tends to bring out the mischief-makers, those who take advantage of the holiday to pull pranks and cause mayhem. As soon as 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. At the same time, it is the property owner’s responsibility to keep their Gilbert in habitable condition and most leases require the tenant to have the property cleaned and kept in flawless status. If holiday pranksters have left a mess in the front garden, the argument of who is at the helm for the clean up may, in the end, depend on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has surprisingly created.

Even though landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, normally a property owner is not responsible for eradicating the aftermath of a Halloween prank. Common pranks tend to be more of a nuisance than a legitimate problem. For example, pitching toilet paper on the roof or smashing pumpkins on the driveway is a disturbing and cluttered annoyance, but it rarely develops into long-term issues. Though the messiness is not your tenant’s fault, unless you are already dealing with the yard maintenance for them they will be required to take the initiative and clean up the mess themselves.

But despite that, if the prank results in property damage, specifically the types of damage that would cause the house to be uninhabitable, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make repairs. Even though soaping windows and egging a house can be innocent enough, these pranks can bring on damage to the exterior surfaces of a house. If the vandalism has gone even further to include broken windows, damaged trees or shrubs, or even spray paint, it is unreasonable to expect a tenant to bear the burden of the cost for repairs. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that ends in ample property damage, but you will need to decide whether filing a claim is necessary it in these cases.

You have to 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 (like removing the toilet paper from the roof or a towering tree), it is a good idea to assist them with this or hire someone to do it for you. There are around 36,000 deaths and more than 164,000 injuries attributed to falls from ladders in the United States each year. By allowing tenants to clean or repair using ladders, you are exposing yourself to a high degree of liability. Tenant safety must be a priority when making decisions on how to clean up after Halloween mischief.

As a property homeowner, there are several things you can do to help deter Halloween pranksters. For instance, installing motion-sensing lighting around the home’s exterior could put off any eager vandals. You can also encourage your tenants to leave exterior lights on during Halloween night. It’s similarly a great idea to check your insurance coverage to guarantee that you will be shielded in the event that Halloween shenanigans do cause serious property damage.

Even if these are not strenuous jobs, they do take time and as they say, time is money. To maintain your property in good condition and keep vandals away, try opting for a Gilbert property manager to attend to things for you. At Real Property Management East Valley, we can study the possibility of any Halloween mayhem and help you determine your next steps. We can likewise make certain that your tenants will enact on their obligations, should any issues need to be fixed. To know more about our assistance, contact us online or call us at 480-658-0869.

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.