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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Carrollton Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesFor several people, Halloween is a night filled with costumes, parties, and candy. On the other hand, 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. Although it is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain their Carrollton rental in habitable condition, most leases require the tenant to retain the property in a clean and excellent order. Supposing holiday pranksters have caused chaos in the front yard, the issue of who is answerable for the clean up may sooner or later hang on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has brought.

Although landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, 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, tossing toilet paper or smashing pumpkins on the driveway are both unacceptable and disorderly vexations, but barely generate into persistent problems. When the problem is not your tenant’s fault and unless you are formerly running the yard maintenance for them, they will have to get the initiative and 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. While soaping windows and egging a house can sound innocent enough, these pranks can give rise to 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, it is unreasonable to expect a tenant to be the one to handle the repair bill. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that results in dire property damage, but you will be required to decide if filing a claim is worthy of these issues.

You also have to consider your tenant’s safety when debating responsibility. If the mess from the prank is excessive or could force your tenants to get on a ladder (such as extracting toilet paper from the ceiling or a tall tree), it is an extraordinary enthusiasm to guide 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 permitting tenants to carry out cleaning or jobs 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 as a result of Halloween mayhem.

Being the property owner, there are several things you can do to help deter Halloween pranksters. For instance, installing motion-sensing lighting about the home’s exterior would alarm every potential vandal. You can even encourage your tenants to turn on the exterior lights on Halloween night. It’s also a good time to check your insurance coverage to verify that you will be covered if Halloween shenanigans do turn out to cause property damage.

Though these are not challenging goals, they do take a long time, and as they say, time is money. To keep your property secure and hooligans at a distance, consider recruiting a Carrollton property manager to keep track of things for you. At Real Property Management Legend, we can estimate the probability of any Halloween mayhem and let you select your next best steps. We can also establish that your renters will execute their tasks, should any dilemmas need to be cleared up. To determine more about our expertise, contact us online or call us at 214-227-2404.


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