DEFINITION of 'Maintenance Expenses'

Maintenance expenses are the costs incurred to keep an item in good condition or good working order. When purchasing an item that requires upkeep consumers should consider the initial price tag as well as the item's ongoing maintenance expenses. Such expenses are major reasons why home ownership can be more costly than renting. Sometimes items that are merely leased and not owned, such as a leased car, will require the operator to pay maintenance expenses.

BREAKING DOWN 'Maintenance Expenses'

Examples of maintenance expenses for automobiles include gas, oil changes, alignment, tire replacement, brake fluid and car washes. Maintenance expenses for a house include lawn care, plumbing repairs, roof repairs, hazard insurance premiums and replacement of worn out appliances.

Who Pays Maintenance Expenses for Leased or Rented Property

Responsibility for covering maintenance expenses for rental properties might fall to renters or landlords depending on the upkeep in question. Most rental agreements will define the aspects of a property that renters will be held accountable for. A renter who occupies a beach house for a few days might only be charged for repairs or replacements of any fixtures or appliances that are damaged or destroyed by the renter during their stay. If a renter occupies a home for an extended period, she may be responsible for the regular upkeep of the property. This could include scheduling the repainting of the property or at least alerting the property owner of the need for such work.

Many other maintenance expenses may fall to the landlord to pay for. If the rental residence is furnished, the replacement or repair of articles of furniture is the landlord’s responsibility in most cases. The cleaning or replacement of carpeting can be necessary as the residence is frequently used by different renters over time. The clearing out of leaves from rain gutters or the regular trimming of shrubbery would usually be the responsibility of a landlord.

Government requirements can compel a landlord to maintain certain safety and living standards that require frequent stewardship of a property. For example, the heat in an apartment building must meet minimum standards, particularly in the winter.

Infrastructure repairs such as heating and ventilation maintenance can be required in order for a property to be livable. The cost of such regular upkeep is typically paid for by the landlord. Other forms of repair needed on a property can include the repaving of driveways, replacement of windows and insulation, chimney cleaning and tree removal.

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