If you're a bit confused as to who needs to take responsibility for the maintenance of your apartment block's exterior, don't worry - you aren't the first. It can sometimes be unclear what you are responsible for in terms of maintenance when you own or rent an apartment. For the most part, the interior is usually up to the flat owner or leaseholder to fix. But what about the externals like the roof, walls, paint, windows, and gutters?
In the case of apartment blocks, the block owner or manager is generally responsible for all structural repairs. That includes the external walls, structure, roof, and window cleaning and repairs. If the damage was caused due to negligence or failure to report issues on the part of the tenant, then the responsibility will fall to them. According to the US Attorney general guidelines to landlords and tenant rights, the responsibilities of tenants and landlords can, however, vary depending on the lease agreement.
Boston has specific laws pertaining to tenants. The responsibility falls to tenants to let the landlord know if they notice any problems with anything on the exterior of their apartment. You must also make sure not to cause any damage by neglecting the flat or behaving irresponsibly. So long as you keep landlords informed, they should always cover the cost and organization of the repairs when requested. You should also make sure that the landlord has a regular maintenance schedule to prevent any unnecessary damage that could affect the interior of your apartment.
The key to avoiding massive repair costs and to ensure no legal maintenance issues arise is to make repairs before they become bigger issues. That's why the landlord or building manager should have a regular maintenance schedule to follow. This schedule would dictate when inspections are due, and how often to clean or replace the various structural elements of the building. The landlords must maintain the cleanliness of the windows, make sure that the exterior walls are painted every few years and are free from dampness.
The gutters also need to be checked once a season for leaks and clogs and to make sure they aren't coming loose. According to experts at Clean Pro Gutters (https://www.cleanproguttercleaning.com/), when a gutter becomes clogged, it will get heavy in severe weather, pulling down on the roof, which may cause more damage. They can also lead to water leaking into the fascia board or internal structure of a building. Any clogging should be cleared as soon as it is discovered.
The roof needs to be inspected at the end of each season, too. It should be checked for leaks and loose, broken, or old shingles. The flashings along the edge of the roof, especially around any chimneys, should be inspected and treated with corrosion-resistant paint. Any trees surrounding the building need to be trimmed back to prevent the branches from damaging the roof and the leaves from clogging the gutters. The roof needs to be cleaned of any debris that inevitably builds up to prevent water from collecting and corroding it.
The division of responsibilities is made clear by the law. Both tenants and landlords have obligations they need to meet to keep apartment blocks in good shape.