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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Frisco Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesFor countless people, Halloween is a night full of costumes, parties, and candy. Yet 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. While it is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain their Frisco apartment in a habitable condition, most leases require the tenant to keep the property pristine and in great standing. Should holiday pranksters create a mess in the front yard, the challenge of who is answerable for the clean up may fundamentally depend on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has indeed caused.

Despite that landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, a property owner is usually not responsible for cleaning the aftermath of a Halloween prank. Common pranks tend to be more of a nuisance than a legitimate problem. For example, throwing toilet paper or smashing pumpkins on the driveway are fairly annoying and untidy burdens, but hardly provoke lengthy destruction. While the mess is not your tenant’s error, unless you are already managing the yard maintenance for them they will need to be resourceful and clear up the disarray themselves.

In any case, if the prank results in property damage, particularly the type of damage that would cause the house uninhabitable, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make repairs. Though soaping windows and egging a house can feel mere annoyances, these pranks can cause damage to the exterior surfaces of a home. If the vandalism went even further to include broken windows, damaged trees or shrubs, or even spray paint, despite that, it is unreasonable to expect a tenant to be burdened with the repair expenditures. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that evolves into severe property damage, but you will have to determine if filing a claim is useful in these matters.

You also have to consider your tenant’s safety when debating responsibility. If the mess from the prank is excessive or could force your tenants to get on a ladder (such as extracting toilet paper from the roof or a high-rise tree), it is a good idea to aid them with this or hire someone to do it for you. There are anticipated 36,000 deaths and more than 164,000 injuries attributed to falls from ladders in the United States each year. By empowering tenants to carry out scrubbing or repairs that involve ladders, you are exposing yourself to a high degree of liability. Tenant safety must be a priority when making decisions about how to tidy up as a result of Halloween pranks.

Since you are a property owner, there are several things you can do to help deter Halloween pranksters. For instance, installing motion-sensing lighting nearby the home’s exterior could drive away any wannabe vandals. You can still encourage your tenants to leave exterior lights on during Halloween night. It’s also a good idea to check your insurance coverage to ensure that you will be defended whenever Halloween shenanigans do conclude in property damage.

Even though these are not grueling challenges, they take a while, and as they always say, time is money. To make your property shielded and keep pranksters away, consider hiring a Frisco property manager to monitor your things for you. At Real Property Management One Source, we can determine the after-effects of any Halloween mayhem and help you figure out your next move. We can also confirm that your tenants will finish their duties, should any mess need to be cleaned. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call us at 214-960-1612.

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