The Property owners take great pride in the high quality of their rental homes and expect that tenants will take the same pride and care for the unit, as it is YOUR HOME during this time in Oxford. Tenants are responsible for general Maintenance, cleaning and in general taking good care of the unit, while the Lessor is responsible for Repairing things when they wear out, fail or anything structural or mechanical related. Below you will find detailed summaries taken from your lease to help guide you in regard to your maintenance responsibilities, cleaning tips, specific situation tips, and how to submit a Repair request to us. As always the most detailed and specific information is found in your lease agreement.
Tenants are responsible for all regular maintenance and upkeep of your residence. Please see your lease for more details, Tenant’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Housekeeping/cleaning - Houses must be kept sanitary at all times, including free of foul odors & returned at move out just as they were at move in.
- Changing light bulbs
- Replacing smoke detector batteries; never leave a detector disabled.
- Replacing Furnace Filters every 30 days (if your unit has a conventional furnace) Filter size is marked on the door of the unit, (available at Ace or Kroger)
- Cleaning out Dryer lint traps regularly – keeps machine working properly and prevents potential for fire.
- Hanging shower curtains & liners
- Removing trash regularly and to not allow trash to accumulate in the house or exterior, keep trash in proper trashcans outside and ensure the trash collector collects it weekly.
- Plunging toilet clogs, and the expense of plumbers to clear any drain clog (toilet, sink, shower/tub)
- Spraying bug spray, setting mouse traps, etc. if needed
- Keeping your porch & yard clean and litter free (including cigarette butts)
- Flipping/Resetting Electrical Breakers or GFI switches when they trip
- Paying Utility Bills, and any install/setup/pilot lighting coordination with supplier for all Utilities
- Keep Active (at all times) All Primary Utilities during the entire term (Electric, Gas, Water, Trash)
- Lock & Exterior Door Maintenance – Call and hire a LOCKSMITH when locked out or otherwise unable to open a door.
- No smoking in unit or on porches ever.
- Keeping Heat active, and above 65 Degrees AT ALL TIMES From October - April including while away for extended holiday breaks.
The Lessor (owner) is responsible for regular Repair of the main structure and mechanicals of the rental unit when they wear out or fail. Please see your lease for more details, a brief summary of Lessor’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Exterior Upkeep & repair of the structure
- Grass Mowing, Fallen Tree Limbs & Exterior Maintenance excluding litter and trash, and light bulb replacement which are tenant responsibility
- Repair of Mechanicals & Appliances (HVAC, Water Heater, Main Plumbing, Electrical Panel/Outlet/fixture failures, Toilets, Shower Heads, Appliances, etc) when they break down, fail, or wear out.
- Repair of building structure, roof, leaks, windows, doors (Tenants are responsible for hiring a Locksmith for lockouts and exterior lock issues but if it is determined that the lock itself failed from normal wear and tear, then we will reimburse for that portion of the Locksmith service call).
- The exception to these responsibilities, per the lease, is if it is determined that tenant (or guests) misuse, abuse, or negligence is the cause, or contributed to, the failure or breakage of any of the above then Tenants will be responsible for and invoiced for such repair and/or replacement costs.
- Requests and Reports MUST BE MADE BY EMAIL - If you have a regular REPAIR request for which the Lessor is responsible for, or to report non emergency damages to the property, or to report maintenance that you had a contractor complete (such as unclogging a drain, or locksmith work), you must make your request (or report) in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org Requiring theses in writing allows us to track and properly resolve all requests efficiently and timely.
- Before emailing us please check the 'Common Issues - FAQ' section at the bottom of the Maintenance page, this has step by step instructions to resolve a large number of common issues tenants have with their house that are simple fixes the tenant can do immediately and do not require a maintenance technician.
- Our office hours are Mon-Fri; 10am-4pm EST, closed all US banking holidays. All REPAIR requests must go through our office (not a maintenance technician). We will address emergency repairs (see below for definition of emergency vs. non-emergency) requests immediately, even after hours.
- Please include in your request, 1) your property’s address, 2) your name 3) AND PHONE NUMBER, 4) as much specific information as possible about the issue, and 5) specify the name and location of the room(s) affected (ie. 1st Floor Bath…). 6) Photos are often very helpful to give us an immediate visual of the issue and can be so easy to take with your phone and email or text to us.
- Routine maintenance requests will be taken care of in the order they are received. Typically we will respond to you about a routine maintenance request within 1-2 business days and while dependent on contractor availability, availability of needed parts, weather and other factors we usually are able to get contractors in and make repairs in just a few days, but at times it can take several days or longer. Generally we will have the contractor contact the main house contact directly to schedule the service at a time that is convenient for you and the contractor.
- Any and all damages, regardless of cause, must be reported to Lessor immediately. Non-Emergency damage should be reported by email within one business day, emergency as defined below should be called in due to its urgent nature.
- Who Can Make a Maintenance Request for a House/Apt?
A current lessee, that’s anyone signed onto the lease, are the only people authorized to request a work order for your residence. Your parents CANNOT call in a maintenance request. It is our policy to abide by and follow tenant/landlord privilege and confidentiality.
“An afterhours emergency is a situation in which the property will suffer additional loss if the situation goes uncorrected until the next business day.” For example – the heat goes out and temps are below 50, or a water pipe bursts, roof leak, or broken window, or unsecure exterior door.
- If you have a true after hours emergency, please CALL/TEXT (513) 620-4515. This will immediately page a staff member 24hrs a day, they will return your call and if necessary, they will dispatch an on-call maintenance technician for your maintenance request.
Call 911 first for Fire or any other life threatening event!
- Emergency Calls are Serious - As I’m sure you can appreciate, no one wants to get woken up in the middle of the night, or anytime after work hours, especially when it isn’t necessary…thus we take the after hours emergency service very seriously. Per the Lease, Improper calls after hours will result in a $25 per call fee, immediately billable or deductible from security deposit at the discretion of Lessor.
- Examples that ARE TRUE emergency repair events include but are not limited to:
- Fire; wind/storm/earthquake damage to roof, windows or other primary structure;
- Water leaks not controllable by bucket, roof leaks, overflowing toilet that overflow cannot be stopped by shutting off water (clogs are NOT emergencies otherwise) or other flooding,
- Unsecured exterior doors or broken windows.
- Total Heat failure (if outside temps below 50 degrees)
- Examples that are NOT emergencies include, but are not limited to:
- Dripping faucet or slowly dripping sink water pipe (please catch drips in cabinet with a bucket and/or shut off water lines to sink).
- Power or other Utility Outages – call the utility company.
- Issues with: Appliances, Air Conditioning Failure, or Water-heater (unless leaking large amounts of water onto wood/carpet floor)
- Clogged Drains or Toilets (stop using and call plumber or wait till next business day and we can assist you with scheduling a plumber, tenants are responsible for expense to clear clogs, per lease)
- Lockouts or stuck/unable to open doors (call a Locksmith, this is tenant responsibility)
- Vandalism/Theft (call Police and file a report, then email to notify Landlord; (except where damage results in an emergency defined situation such as a broken window)
- You are required by the lease to maintain heat (and gas and electric) during all cold weather months typically October – April. You should NEVER turn the heat below 65 degrees in the winter months. If you do, you face the possibility of the water pipes freezing and bursting. If this occurs because the heat was off or below 65 degrees, you will be responsible for the cost of all the damages that occur to the home which are often in the multi-thousands of dollars!
When you leave for a long time away it is a really good idea to do the following:
- Do NOT turn off the heat! You can turn it down some to save energy costs while away, BUT the lease requires that you DO NOT TURN HEAT BELOW 65 DEGREES!
- Open all cabinet doors where there are water pipes such as the kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets. Leave all bath and bedroom doors open. This allows the warm air to flow better, closed cabinets can get up to 20 degrees colder than the rest of the room and can still allow pipes to freeze, especially in older homes!
- Make sure to check the locks on all windows and
- Leave your porch lights on for extra security while you are away.
Continuously keeping your rental home clean day to day is so very important, and a REQUIREMENT of your lease
Click here for some super easy YouTube VIDEO Tutorials, Tips and Resources.
- How Do We Prevent our Toilets From Clogging or Overflowing?
Clogged and overflowing toilets are a common problem that can easily be prevented.
- NEVER FLUSH: paper towels, facial tissues, wipes, cotton swabs, condoms, feminine hygiene products, or Band-Aids down the commode. Even “disposable/flushable” marketed wipes often cause clog problems, especially when more than 1 is flushed at a time. Tenants are responsible for the cost to clear ALL clogs so please never flush any of these items!
- Please keep a ‘toilet’ plunger (not a sink plunger) on hand to avoid unnecessary service call expenses to plumbers if you can clear the clog yourself.
- Overflowing Toilet - If toilet water is overflowing quickly turn OFF the water supply shutoff valve near the floor at the back of the toilet where the water line comes from the wall. This stops the flow of more water. Then get towels to soak up the water to prevent it from getting to other parts of the house, carpets. Etc. Then let water lower and try to plunger, email us for a plumber service call, or call one of your own. If the overflow does NOT stop after water is turned off (sewer system backup) or there is flooding damage (ie the overflow was ongoing some time before you found it) then that is an emergency so call our office, or after hours call the emergency repair line.
- Prevent Sink Clogs –
Do not allow food waste, cooking grease or hair down the drains these will cause clogs, if not immediately, then certainly over time. Those items should be put in the trash (always cool grease first to prevent fire) Use a sink strainer basket in the drain to prevent food, bones, and other objects from getting in the drain.
- Prevent Shower/Tub Clogs –
Never put anything down the drain except water, hair is the number one clog or cause of slow draining tubs, several products sold in stores (and online) can help prevent this including “HairSnare” or “DrainWig” costing $5-$12.
- If you are unable to clear a clog yourself
You may call any plumber of your choosing (some are 24hr), OR email us and on the next business day we will have one of our preferred plumbing contractors call you to schedule an appointment to snake and clear the drain. If you would like to call our preferred Plumbing Contractor in Oxford directly they can be reached at: Universal Plumbing – Jason 513-461-4112. Per the lease, all Drain “Clog” issues fall under Tenant maintenance responsibility, and expenses thereof are that of the tenants. When a plumbing issue is Not a clog or tenant caused then of course the Lessor will repair or replace fixtures and pipes at their expense, such as when parts have failed or if a sewer line has collapsed, has tree roots growing through it that are causing drain backups, etc.
- Lockout Or Otherwise unable to open Exterior Entry Door -
Slamming and abuse/misuse of doors is the leading cause of misaligned locks & doors, handsets breaking, and other issues that can make it hard to open or close doors, therefore tenants agree to maintain doors, mainly by using them gently, tightening handsets when loose and are responsible when repairs or services of a locksmith for gaining access from a lockout or otherwise stuck door is required.
- IF YOU ARE LOCKED OUT OF THE RENTAL:
- DO CALL A PROFESSIONAL LOCKSMITH. Most are 24hr and in the phonebook.
- DO NOT KICK IN OR FORCE OPEN THE DOOR, OR WINDOWS, AND DO NOT CALL LESSOR, THIS IS NOT CONSIDERED AN AFTER HOURS EMERGENCY and we are unable to assist you with this. If a door is stuck or they are locked out the tenant must call a professional locksmith to regain entry and must pay said contractor at time of service. Tenant should then email (to notify only) the Lessor of this occurrence so it can be documented.
- Note for Locksmith - Any repair or replacement of lock or handset must be done to match the original keys so as to not affect continuous entry rights of Lessor.
- Tenants should NEVER FORCE open a locked door, doing so will likely cause major damages from broken door frames, to drywall, all of which the cost will be the responsibility of the tenants, PLUS you will have an unsecure house for the night! If a door is forced open we must be informed of the damages right away so our contractor can secure the door the next day and access damages.
- Bedroom Door Lost key/Lockout – you must call a locksmith to open a locked door and/or create you a new key, it must match the original key so that Lessor maintains access rights, OR you can schedule a visit to our Cincinnati office during regular business hours for a REPLACEMENT copy of the key at a fee of $30.
- Lost Exterior Door Key – as long as you are able to get the door unlocked then you do not need a Locksmith, as you may have a copy made of a roommate’s key; Ace Hardware in town will do this for you.
Common Issues FAQ – Troubleshooting, What to do 1st & Tips
Here are some common issues tenants encounter and what to do in response to them, often the 1st step isn’t to call or email us, but rather the solution is a simple one you can figure out with a few steps. Even with a serious issue, you can stop the damage/issue by locating and turning off the main water shutoff or other great first steps, then calling to report the issue. So please read these great tips below first:
- Sink Disposal Locked UP or No Noise at All – usually something temporarily has jammed the blades and the motor shuts down to protect itself. It usually will make a humming sound the first time you try it again (but not always), but then will shut down with no noise after that.
Its just a basic homeowner maintenance issue usually, try these steps that take just a few minutes:
- This Youtube video shows these same basic steps
- Look to see if there is anything jamming the blades, only food should go down the drain, bones, or anything hard will jamb and potentially ruin a disposal.
- Check the electric panel to make sure the breaker was not tripped, if tripped reset it.
- Next, Make sure the power is off, make sure switch above counter is off, and to be really safe you should also turn off the breaker in the electric panel which should be labeled Kitchen (or specific kitchen appliances), then look down in the drain to see if anything is lodged in it, such as utensils, bones, glass etc. If there is anything it will have to be removed, if not the next two steps should do it.
- Turn power back on before trying the below two so you can immediately see if they fix the issue.
- Open the sink cabinet, on the bottom of the garbage disposal is a RESET button, its usually a small square button, it will be OFF center toward one side but on the bottom… and might be hard to see but if you feel around you should find it with your finger, push this and then turn the switch on again…that resets the motor…but if the blades are jammed you also need to do #4
- Use what they call a “jam buster wrench” its a silver metal wrench and at move in we provide the house with one sitting in the sink cabinet…if it’s missing you can use a 1/4” allen wrench like they show in the video or you can buy pick either cheaply at ACE, You put it up into the center of the bottom of the disposer and then rotate it left or right several revolutions, this moves the blades around and frees them from the stuck position.
- Flip switch to test and disposal should be working, run lots of water through to clean out any remaining food waste that may have gummed it up. If this does not work report the issue by email to us and we will have a plumber call you to schedule service.
- Dripping Faucet or Shower Head or excessively running toilet –
Faucets and shower heads can drip some from time to time, often this is of no concern, but if it’s a steady drip we can look at servicing it during our next round of general repairs, these are not urgent repairs. Some tips to help cut down on wasted water costs though, you can shutoff the water supply when you are away or otherwise if you can choose to not use that specific sink or toilet by turning off the shutoff valve found under the sink or at the back near the floor of the toilet. If you are going to use the toilet you can turn it back on each time and then back off after it fills the tank if you want to.
- Toilet or Other Drain Clogs (See Toilet, Bath & Sink Clogged…section above)
- Loss of Hot Water or Furnace Heat – Before requesting Service do this:
- Step 1 – Is your electric service on throughout the unit? Could there be a power failure or unpaid bill that shutoff service?
- Step 2 – ask the same question about gas, for this to fully verify your service is flowing and active you MUST call the gas supplier BEFORE requesting a repair order to us and make sure your service was not turned off due to unpaid bills, error etc. This has happened more times than you would think and you don’t want to have to pay a $90 service call for a plumber to come out and find that the gas was turned off thus you have to pay our contractor fee since no repair was necessary!
- Step 3 – Check if any electic breakers are tripped in the electrical panel, reset if any are not fully engaged in the ON position. (push to off, then back to on).
- If any of these were the issue, a water heater will take some time to heat up after getting back on. If the gas was turned off, the pilot light (except auto-pilots) will need to be relit by the gas company.
- For Heat, make sure the thermostat is set to ON, and HEAT and push temperature higher than the room says it currently is to see if it kicks on.
- If none of these were the issue the unit may have failed please email our office with a repair request, or if heat is out and its below 50 degrees forecasted outside temp then call us or if after hours call the emergency repairs number
- Water Leaking from Ceilings/Roof –
Get a bucket or bowl and try to place it where it is dripping to catch the drips so that they do not damage/go through the flooring. Then call our emergency repairs line.
- Leaking Sink Drain Pipe – leak into cabinet, floor, etc.
Sometimes sink drains get knocked loose, often from items being stored under the sink, and sometimes just simply from age. 1st – stop using that sink and do not dump anything down that drain until it is repaired, 2nd – place a bucket or bowl under the drain pipe to catch the drips and then wipe up the water that has already gotten on the cabinet and floor so it doesn’t soak in and ruin the cabinet, walls and nearby flooring. Remove all personal items so they can fully dry out. Then 3rd – email in a repair request. After you do the above so things can dry out, this is not an emergency and can wait to be addressed the next business day.
- Burst Water Pipe, Or Large Leaking Water Heater –
Locate the Main Water Shutoff for the Whole house and turn it off as quickly as possible to stop the flow of water. We show you these during the initial walk through and have them marked with a hangtag that says “Main Water Shutoff” They are usually in a utility closet by the water heater or in the basement. Then mop up the water with towels, mops, etc. as best you can to prevent it from getting through to the ceiling/floor below or over to other flooring such as carpet. Then call us or if after hours the emergency repairs line immediately.
- Dishwasher does not have power/will not start –
All Dishwashers have a power disconnect switch, which is usually a regular looking light switch somewhere in the kitchen, usually above the counter near the unit. Make sure this is switched on, often they are accidentally switched off. If that is not the issue then check the breaker panel, and then the light switch again. Some, but not most, Dishwasher models also have a power on/off button that you hold a few seconds or push in/out that may be located on the top of the door edge or next to the other controls.
- Electrical Outlet Not working –
1) First is the electric on in other rooms, check for overall power failure or if power could have been turned off due to unpaid bill,
2) unplug appliances plugged into that outlet,
3) If the outlet is located in a Kitchen or bathroom check if there is a GFI plug that has a reset and test button on it located either in that same room, (or sometimes it will be located in the other bath and control both baths). These trip from overloading, or other surge from the appliance being used, simply push the RESET button and the outlets should be back on.
4) If no GFI or unable to RESET then go the unit’s main Electrical Breaker Panel, and look at the breakers to see if one is “tripped”, it should flipped between off and on, push to off and back to on to reset it. If that does not work then unplug
- Storm, Wind, Earthquake Damage –
Any damage resulting from this, especially related to the roof or structural integrity, please call us, or after hours call the emergency repairs number, and ideally please take pictures with your cell phone and text them to us, that really helps give us a visual of if the damage is serious or can wait and what type of contractor we need to call.
- Downed Trees or limbs – if on power or any utility service lines – call the utility company as they will remove these and ensure the lines are ok. If blocking alleyway, landed on a car and you cannot remove, or blocking street call the city of Oxford as they will cut up and remove these. If anywhere else on the property just email us and describe where they are and if they are on the ground or otherwise impacting anything (pictures help) and we will schedule tree contractors for first availability the next business day. If a tree or limb has fallen on the rental building, this may be cause for emergency so in that case ONLY, take a couple pictures, text them to the emergency #, and call.
- Chirping/Beeping Smoke or CO2 Detector –
If the alarm is going off then evacuate outdoors and call 911. If the smoke alarm goes off because you burned dinner and otherwise know there is no fire then just wave a towel in front of the alarm for a few minutes and it will shut off. However if just chirping, locate the unit that is chirping, this can take a few minutes since there is a long pause between each chirp. Then REPLACE THE BATTERIES WITH BRAND NEW batteries, used ones may still chirp. If new batteries still do not stop it from chirping then the unit could be defective or otherwise worn out from age, then email us (this is non-emergency) and we get back to you the next business day and get it inspected and replaced ASAP.
- Pest or Bug Problem –
Food and garbage, especially food on floors attracts ants and mice. Empty beer bottles & cans are highly attractive to cockroaches. Keeping doors or windows open also leads to bug and pest issues. Keeping your house continuously picked up and clean is the #1 most effective way to prevent and get rid of bug and rodent problems. ANTS – pickup ant motel traps at Kroger that you place on the floor near baseboards, these are usually very effective for most minor issues. Ant spray can also be helpful but will not get rid of the source colony. If after you have tried to remove the pests yourself and you have a pest problem beyond general upkeep, please contact our office by email and we will coordinate hiring a professional pest exterminator. Per the lease any pest problem that occurs after 10 days of initial key possession is an expense for which the tenants are responsible to correct.
- Rental Broken Into or Vandalism –
You MUST call the police immediately and make an official statement, then notify us by phone during normal business hours and email if non emergency (along with a copy of the police report) or call the emergency after hours number if an exterior door or window is broken and unsecure.
- Disagreement between tenants –
The Lessor cannot and will not get in the middle of any disagreements between tenants such as disputes over expenses, rent, rooms, etc. The Lessor is not a party to and has no authority within your agreements amongst your tenant group, and tenants are adults, and must work out their differences between themselves. The Lessor’s only relationship with tenants is to ensure the payment of total rent due and that the obligations of the lease agreement and rules therein are being followed.