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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Christiansburg Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesFor various people, Halloween is a night replete with costumes, parties, and candy. 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. And it is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure that their Christiansburg rental is in habitable condition, most leases require the tenant to keep the rental property clean and in good condition. Assuming holiday pranksters have produced a mess in the front garden, the question of who should be responsible for tidying up may inherently depend on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has substantially prompted.

Though landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, in general, a property owner is not responsible for smartening up the aftermath of a Halloween prank. Common pranks tend to be more of a nuisance than a legitimate problem. Like slinging toilet paper or smashing pumpkins on the driveway are both exasperating and disorderly bothers, but rarely evoke large devastation. Whereas the mess is not your occupant’s wrongdoing, unless you are presently doing the yard maintenance for them they will want to take the initiative and pick up the clutter on their own.

Yet, if the prank results in property damage, predominantly 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 seem harmless enough, these pranks can generate damage to the exterior surfaces of the house. When the vandalism includes broken windows, damaged trees or shrubs, or even spray paint, it would be unreasonable to expect a tenant to be burdened with the cost of the renovations. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that causes fundamental property damage, but you will need to determine whether filing a claim is beneficial in these concerns.

You should also consider your tenant’s safety when debating responsibility. If the destruction from the prank is excessive or would force your tenants to get on a ladder (such as removing the toilet paper from the roof or a tall tree), it is a good idea to aid them with this or hire someone to do it for you. There are believed to be 36,000 deaths and more than 164,000 injuries attributed to falls from ladders in the United States each year. By permitting tenants to clean or do repairs that require ladders, you’ll find you are exposing yourself to a high degree of liability. Tenant safety must be a priority when making decisions on how to neaten up after Halloween mischief.

As a property owner, there are several things you can do to help deter Halloween pranksters. For example, installing motion-sensing lighting just around the home’s exterior may potentially warn off any potential vandals. You can even encourage your tenants to turn on exterior lights on Halloween night. It’s also a significant time to check your insurance coverage to confirm that you will be covered in the event that Halloween shenanigans have resulted in property damage.

Although these are not rigorous burdens, they do take some time, and as the saying goes, time is money. To make sure that your property is well secured and budding vandals are at bay, why not think of hiring a Christiansburg property manager to watch for your things. At Real Property Management Insight, we can evaluate the consequence of any Halloween mayhem and help you decide on your succeeding decisions. We can similarly validate that your occupants will perform their functions, should any messes need to be cleaned up. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call us at 540-998-6917.

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