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  • Writer's pictureAJ Shepard

What is Owner Responsibility vs. Tenant Responsibility

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

When you move into a property, it should be clean inside and out.

There should be no safety issues, all appliances should be in working order, there should be no plumbing issues, landscaping should be in good order.

When you move out, the property should be returned in the same condition as when you moved in.

Things can happen to the property during your tenancy.  Some of those things will be covered by the owner, such as a water heater that fails, a gutter that starts leaking, an oven element that burns out, a faucet that breaks or leaks, a sudden pipe that bursts, a tree that falls on the property, a furnace that fails, as long as it’s not due to not changing the filters, etc.

Other things are tenant damage such as a clog in the tub caused by excessive hair, a clogged toilet due to a foreign object being put into the toilet, the water damage that was not reported which caused excessive damage, broken window. Tenants are responsible for replacing all light bulbs as needed, replacing furnace filters at least 4 times per year if you have a gas furnace, changing smoke alarm batteries as needed, keeping the landscaping looking nice, with no debris on-site, and keeping the property cleaned and maintained in general during your tenancy.

When you move, there will be normal wear and tear that the owner will take care of. Small nail holes(3D nail size or smaller), recalling shower/tub and small touch up paint.

The following are examples of items which are never considered normal wear and tear:

Smoke damage of any type, resident painting with any other color other than the original color, damage caused by pets, any debris left on sight, inside or outside

A move out inspection with one of our agents will give you the opportunity to find out what may be considered tenant damage items in advance so you have the opportunity to correct those issues before you move out.


If you live in a single-family home, you will need to put the utilities in your own name.  In the city of Portland, trash stays in the owner’s name and you will be billed back for the cost of service.

Multi-family homes that share meters for electricity or water will be billed based on the square footage of your unit.

Your tenant welcome letter will have the specifics for utilities for your particular property outlined. In some cases, the owner may pay one or more utility. Your lease will have that information.  The owner can choose to later amend that by sending a change of utility addendum.

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