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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Bangor Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesFor some people, Halloween is a night packed with costumes, parties, and candy. Nevertheless, 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 keep their Bangor rental in habitable condition, most leases require the tenant to retain the property in a hygienic and excellent order. Assuming holiday pranksters have caused a mess in the front yard, the issue of who is accountable for the cleaning may eventually hang on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has caused.

Although landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, generally, 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, tossing toilet paper or smashing pumpkins on the driveway are both aggravating and complex problems, but seldom induce continuing havoc. Although the mess is not your tenant’s mistake, unless you are already handling the yard maintenance for them they will need to be the resourceful and clean up the untidiness themselves.

Nevertheless, in case the prank results in property damage, particularly the types 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 appear innocent enough, these pranks can damage the exterior surfaces of a house. If the vandalism has even gone beyond to include broken windows, damaged trees or shrubs, or even spray paint, it is unreasonable to expect a tenant to endure the price of the fixes. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that occurs in property damage, but you will have to determine whether filing a claim is worthwhile in these conditions.

You must also 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 clearing toilet paper from the roof or a high tree), it is a good idea to aid them with this or hire someone to do it for you. There are approximate 36,000 deaths and more than 164,000 injuries attributed to falls from ladders in the United States each year. By permitting occupants to execute 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 clean up right after a Halloween mess.

Being a 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 chase off potential vandals. You can likewise encourage your tenants to leave exterior lights on during Halloween night. It’s also an awesome time to check your insurance coverage to make certain that you will be guaranteed, assuming that Halloween shenanigans will happen, that includes property damage.

Though these are not challenging activities, they do take time, and as they say, time is money. To aid in keeping your property secure and vandals away, contemplate employing a Bangor property manager to check on matters for you. At Real Property Management Lehigh Valley, we can determine the impact of any Halloween mayhem and help you choose your next move. We can also guarantee that your tenants will carry out their assignments, should any problems need to be cleaned up. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call us at 484-544-3351.

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