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Are You Responsible for Damage Caused by Halloween Mischief?

Manhattan Rental Property with Toilet Paper in the TreesFor quite a handful of people, Halloween is a night overloaded with costumes, parties, and candy. But 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 keep their Manhattan rental in habitable condition, most leases require the tenant to keep the property sparkling clean and with a good reputation. If holiday pranksters have left a mess in the front yard, the concern of who is guilty of the cleanup may, after all, rely on the lease and the amount of damage the prank has fundamentally done.

While landlord/tenant laws vary from state to state, substantially, a property owner is not responsible for cleaning up the aftermath of a Halloween prank. Common pranks tend to more of a nuisance than a legitimate problem. For example, lobbing toilet paper or smashing pumpkins on the driveway is to the same extent maddening and a messy trouble, but rarely render significant devastation. While the dirtiness is not your tenant’s fault, unless you are already handling the yard maintenance for them, they will need to take action and clean up the aftermath themselves.

But for all that, if the prank results in property damage, precisely the types of damage that would make the house uninhabitable, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make repairs. While soaping windows and egging a house can look harmless enough, these pranks can cause damage to the exterior surfaces of a house. If the vandalism has gone even farther to include broken windows, damaged trees or shrubs, or even spray paint, instead, it is unreasonable to expect a tenant to bear the cost of the restorations. Most landlord insurance policies will cover vandalism that concludes in considerable property damage, but you will need to figure out whether filing a claim is essential in these plights.

You should also consider your tenant’s safety when debating responsibility. If the turmoil from the prank is excessive or would force your tenants to get on a ladder (such as detaching toilet paper from the roof or a giant tree), it is a smart idea to help them with this or hire someone to do it for you. There are an estimated 36,000 deaths and more than 164,000 injuries attributed to falls from ladders in the United States each year. By permitting tenants to execute cleaning or maintenances that requires ladders, you are exposing yourself to a high degree of liability. Tenant safety must be a priority when making decisions about how to clean up after Halloween havoc.

As a property owner, there are several things you can do to help deter Halloween pranksters. For example, installing motion-sensing lighting around the home’s exterior could put off any prospective vandals. You can also encourage your tenants to leave exterior lights on throughout Halloween night. It’s also a perfect time to check your insurance coverage to certify that you will be covered on the chance that Halloween shenanigans do result in initiating property damage.

While these are not backbreaking tasks, they do take time, and as they say, time is money. To help keep your property protected and ravagers away, think about appointing a Manhattan property manager to keep an eye on things for you. At Real Property Management Bozeman, we can examine the repercussion of any Halloween mayhem and help you decide on your best next steps. We can also arrange that your tenants will administer their chores suitably, should any messes need to be cleaned up. To learn more about our services, contact us online or call us at 406-586-2226.

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