We are first time landlords...
We are first time landlords (of a single family house in Stockbridge, MA) and had a bad experience with our first tenants who have finally moved out. Looking ahead, we want to be better prepared before we rent it out again. We have read up on the MA state
laws concerning plowing/maintenance
, etc. Apparently, the tenant can be made responsible for keeping walkways clear, but the landlord is responsible for the plowing. Assuming this is correct, we would like to know... 1.) Since the landlord is responsible for
plowing, if we hire a professional to keep the driveway open during the winter, can we pass along the bill to the tenant? I know we can raise the rent to account for this additional expense, but it seems like it would be cheaper just to bill them as needed,
if this is legal, of course. 2.) If the tenant wants to take care of the plowing in exchange for a reduction in rent, should we include this in the lease agreement or does it require a separate contract? I'm assuming that we would need to include what actions
we would take if it wasn't done adequately, etc. 3.) What about property maintenance (i.e., lawn mowing, trimming, raking, etc.)? Most of the potential tenants that we've talked to have said that they would prefer to take care of it themselves for a reduction
in rent versus having us do it as the weather and our time permits. If we let the tenants do this, do we need to include it in the lease agreement or does it require a separate contract? 4.) If we mention in the lease agreement that we are allowing a reduction
in rent in exchange for the services that the tenant wants to do (agrees to do), if they fail to do it adequately can we increase the rent and/or bill them if we need to hire someone to do it? Would we be better off stating who will be responsible for what
in the lease and state if it not done, then there will be an increase in rent? 5.) How does a tax escalator clause work? I remember having that as part of my rent many years ago and I recall getting a bill as the tax bill becomes available and this was in
addition to the actual rent. Since our property is a single family house on over 6 acres of land, I'm assuming we can pass along the tax bill to the tenant the same way, unless it has changed? Thanks for your help!