Property Maintenance Obligations

Property owners are obligated to keep buildings, and lots in good repair to keep those who use the property safe and healthy. This includes even grades to land to facilitate safe passage, it also helps with drainage. Standing water on properties is only approved in specific types of reservoirs. This cuts down on mosquito breeding grounds and potential disease spread. Sidewalks, parking lots, etc should be kept in good repair- free of holes, level, free of broken down cars. Most towns have ordinances on plant growth and lawn maintenance. Failure in keeping vegetation below a certain level encourages animal populations that can harbour disease.


In addition to level passageways, these spaces must also be kept clear and passable. Handrails are a requirement if the passageway has more than 3 risers. Handrails also have to be attached properly and bear a reasonable amount of applied weight. Guardrails are also required if one area is more than 30 inches above another area.

For multi family residences, the owner is responsible for supplying garbage containers. This serves several health and safety purposes. Garbage should never be allowed to accumulate or block public spaces and passageways of buildings. Proper garbage disposal is also important to ensure that insects and rodent populations do not take up residence in buildings. The property owner supplies garbage containers, but it is the responsibility of the individual occupants to make sure garbage is placed in said containers.

In regards to insect and rodent infestations, the owner is responsible for making sure the property remains free of vermin. It may be determined, however, that an occupant’s poor sanitation habits and pets are to blame for infestations. In this case, an occupant can be held responsible for paying for extermination costs.

Properties that serve as residences for multiple families or businesses are required to have proper lighting (for safe passage) and ventilation. Residences for rent must have a room or space designated for food preparation and a room for bathroom appliances/needs. A working sink has to be in each space. All mechanical equipment has to be in safe, workable repair.      

If you or a loved one suffered harm or death due to an injury sustained on property that was in poor repair, you may be eligible for damages. Let the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm review the facts to see if you have a personal injury or wrongful death case. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee for representation unless a settlement or recovery of funds is made on your behalf.