Section 3

Care and Use of Your Unit


3.1.1 DAMAGES/LIABILITY. The Tenant is solely responsible for losses or damages to AMH housing units (including pest infestation), equipment, or furnishings caused by the intentional act or neglect of the Tenant, the Tenant’s dependents, animals, or the Tenant’s guests. In those cases where such damage or loss to AMH has occurred at the fault of Tenant, Tenant’s dependents, animals, or Tenant’s guests; charges will be assessed and must be paid by Tenant. 

3.1.2 DAMAGES/LIABILITY AT MOVE OUT.  Tenants are responsible for any damages caused by Tenant beyond normal wear and tear including, but not limited to, holes in walls, doors, or ceilings (holes from normal picture hanging hooks are considered normal wear and tear) or animal damage to the home, garage, carpet, or yard.  See Section 17.6 of this Handbook for further information on financial liability at move out. 


Special Modification work in AMH units may be authorized if the proposed work is relatively simple and is primarily for Resident benefit.  This work must not generate additional maintenance costs or increase the size of the living area, or structurally compromise the unit.  Drilling holes, installing nails, bolts, or other similar devices in the exterior siding of your home is prohibited. If you are unsure as to whether a Special Modification Request Form is required, please contact our office for clarification. Tenants or spouses with Power of Attorney may submit Special Modification Request Forms in person or online at

For disability related accommodation or modification requests, you may complete a special modification request form (be sure to include that this is a reasonable modification or accommodation request), call our office, or email us

3.2.1 REMOVAL OF SPECIAL MODIFICATIONS. Special Modification work must be removed prior to the final inspection.  When removing, your home or area must be restored to its original condition.  


3.3.1 INTERIOR CARE RESPONSIBILITIES. Care of your home should be an ongoing effort from the time you move in until the time you move out. The Tenant is responsible for ensuring the home is safe, sanitary and provides a healthy living environment. Tenant will be liable for any damages to the home caused by the neglect or willful abuse of Tenant or Tenant’s dependents, animals, and/or guests.  The home should be cleaned regularly. For minimum cleaning requirements and costs, see Appendix C: AMH Cleaning Requirements and Appendix D: AMH Cleaning, Repair and Replacement Cost. 

3.3.2 KITCHEN. The kitchen in your home is one of the most demanding areas to keep clean.  The interior and exterior of your stove, oven, hood, broiler unit, cabinets, floors, trim and walls should be cleaned frequently. Do not set hot pans/utensils on the countertops. Use a cutting board to chop food items.  Clean your refrigerator frequently. If coils are visible at the back or underneath the refrigerator, clean coils periodically to prevent buildup of dust and lint (this is a fire safety standard).  Rinse dishes to remove food before loading into the dishwasher as excess food residue in the dishwasher will plug the filter. Clean the door gasket area frequently to prevent the accumulation of dried soap. Avoid overloading the garbage disposal with any type of food. Do not place fibrous material (such as onions and celery, pasta, potato peels, egg shells) or grease in the garbage disposal.  Cooking grease in the sewer lines is a common cause of sewage back-ups.  The use of adhesive-backed shelf paper damages surfaces when removed, and is not permitted in AMH homes.  All shelf paper must be removed prior to the final move out inspection.  

3.3.3 BATHROOMS. Walls in tub and shower areas should be cleaned periodically with cleaning products designed to combat mildew and soap scum build up.  Clean tub surround and showers with nonabrasive cleaners only. Clean and disinfect bathrooms including toilets, bathtubs, washbasins, shower, vent covers, mirrors, shelves, towel rails, sinks, and related hardware. Any excessive buildup of calcium deposits, hairspray, and soap scum around fixtures, caps, or on walls should be removed. Toilet bowls should be cleaned both inside and out. Tiles and mirrors should be free of soap build-up or streaks. Even if labeled flushable, do not flush tampons, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, baby wipes, small toys, and other similar materials down the toilets.  In case of a plumbing stop-up use a plunger to attempt to clear. If this fails, contact AMH maintenance for assistance.  Tenants will be charged to repair toilets or sewage lines that are nonfunctional due to negligence or misuse.  

3.3.4 CABINETS, CLOSETS, DRAWERS AND SHELVES. These items need to be free of dirt, stains, shelf paper, residue, staples, tacks, etc. Additionally clean registers, vents, and cold air returns making certain they are free of dirt, sediments, and stains. 

3.3.5 LIGHT FIXTURES. Light fixtures must be kept in good working order and free from dust, grime, grease, etc. Tenants are expected to replace all burned out bulbs, missing bulbs, and broken or damaged light covers. Burned out or damaged fluorescent bulbs, vanity bulbs, flood, and appliance bulbs, and some light covers can be exchanged at Self Help Center on a one-for-one basis. 

3.3.6 CARPETS AND VINYL. The replacement cost of carpet due to pet damage, permanent stains, burns, and holes is expensive.  AMH recommends that shoes/boots be removed at the door, and pets be kept off the carpet. Tenants are encouraged to vacuum and edge carpets frequently, and spot treat and shampoo carpet as necessary to prevent excessive soil buildup or staining of the carpet.  Damaged carpet or pads may have to be replaced at move-out; Tenants are responsible for the depreciated replacement cost. AMH strongly recommends tenants utilize runners and area rugs to cover high traffic/stain areas. Remove dirt, dust, smudges, and wax build-up from floor areas, all cove base, baseboards and trim. All AMH vinyl flooring are No-Wax floors. Urine discovered on a carpet during final inspection does not constitute normal wear and tear.   

3.3.7 PREVENTION OF MOLD AND MILDEW. Mold and mildew, although common, can be avoided. To prevent mold and mildew growth on surfaces (i.e. bathrooms, window sills, etc.), regular and frequent cleaning and removal of excess moisture is imperative. Minimize use of humidifiers, and promote air circulation through the opening of blinds, curtains and windows during the summer. Utilizing exhaust vents during and after showers or cooking will help remove excess moisture from the air and prevent mold growth.  

3.3.8 BASEMENTS. Basements and storage areas are not to be used as living space and are not typically painted during change of occupancy maintenance. Basements are required to be kept clean along with the living areas of the home. 

3.3.9 WINDOWS AND DOORS. Keep windows and garage doors closed when not in use.  Ensure weather stripping remains in good condition at all times.  Call AMH maintenance to repair or replace damaged weather stripping. Tenants are responsible for cleaning window surfaces inside and out so that they are free of spots, streaks, dirt, and film. Be sure to clean all window trims, seals, blinds, screens and baseboards regularly. Aluminum foil is prohibited for use on any windows or doors. Between October 15th and April 15th the exterior window glass surfaces are excluded from cleaning requirements.  

3.3.10 WALLS. Use mild soap and warm water to remove stains and grease from your walls.  Do not apply adhesive backed materials, wallpaper, or decals on walls. Use small nails or picture-type hangers only. An approved Special Modification Request must be approved prior to painting your interior walls a different color. Tenants must prime and repaint the painted walls back to the AMH standard prior to Final Inspection. 

3.3.11 GARAGES. Garage doors must be kept closed when not in use.  This policy enhances the aesthetics of housing areas, minimizes the potential for theft of personal property, reduces energy consumption, and protects pipes located inside the garage from freezing. Garages must be broom clean; this includes removal of accumulated debris and trash, and sweeping of the area. Excessive accumulation of dirt, gummy materials, oil, and grease stains must be removed.  

3.3.12 FURNACE FILTERS. Residents residing in units with an in unit forced air furnace are required to regularly change the furnace filter.  Filters need to be checked monthly and changed at minimum every 90 days. Filters are available at either Self Help Center location on a one for one exchange basis. 

3.3.13 ROOF/ATTIC/CRAWL SPACE. Crawl spaces and attics are not to be used for the storage of personal items.  Do not allow pets in crawl spaces under any circumstances. Tenants are not permitted on any roof area. 

3.3.1 APPLIANCES APPLIANCES. Clean all appliances thoroughly on the inside and outside to include applicable doors, sides, tops, seals, gaskets, racks, broiler pans, drip pans, control surfaces and knobs, storage areas and refrigerator condenser coils. AMH APPLIANCES. Ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers, washers, and dryers are furnished and serviced by AMH.  Appliances are assigned by serial number and recorded in the Premises’ facility jacket on file at AMH. AMH appliances will not be removed from the units. USAGE OF APPLIANCES. AMH supplied appliances are for residential use and should not be used as commercial appliances (i.e. washers are not equipped to launder large bedding items, sleeping bags, pillows, comforters, etc.). PRIVATELY OWNED APPLIANCES. Privately owned washers, dryers, and refrigerators may be used only if hook-ups are compatible. Electrical and/or gas outlets will not be installed to accommodate a Tenant’s personally owned appliance.  AMH furnished appliances will not be removed from the housing unit to accommodate a Tenant’s personally owned appliance. AMH will not service personally owned appliances. Tenants are responsible for damages to the unit caused by personally owned appliances. 

3.3.15 EXTREME COLD WEATHER UNIT CARE.Extremely cold temperatures are a common occurrence during Alaskan winters.  Failure to properly plan for the cold can have devastating consequences to the unit and your personal items. Water pipes can, and will, freeze and break, resulting in a flooded house if not properly taken care of.  If you suspect frozen water pipes, call AMH maintenance for help immediately. During extreme cold periods, keeping bathroom and kitchen sink cabinet doors open will help prevent pipe freeze-ups. Make sure beds, drapes, and furniture do not block heat registers, all furniture should be a minimum of 2-3 inches from walls for proper heat circulation. Always leave windows closed during winter months. Pipes will freeze rapidly if windows are left open.  

3.3.16 INSECT/PEST CONTROL. Tenants are responsible for routine pest control. This includes maintaining a clean home and utilizing necessary insect and rodent control products. Tenants are expected to take immediate action when pests such as rats, mice, spiders, fleas, silverfish, roaches, bed bugs, weevils, shrews and fruit flies are discovered.  If a Tenant is unable to control insects and avoid infestations, he/she may request pest control advice and support by contacting the AMH maintenance office at 907-753-1091. 

3.3.17 SEWER BACKUPS. These can be minimized if each Tenant exercises caution and does not flush foreign objects down the toilets.  Items such as plastic bags, paper towels, toys, makeup and trash, even disposable diapers, baby wipes, and personal hygiene supplies labeled as ‘flushable’ can cause costly sewage issues if flushed down the toilet. Tenants will be charged if the sewage back up is caused by their neglect. 


Some AMH mechanical room doors have exterior warning lights, and during winter months, warning lights are installed in the kitchen or living room window of unoccupied family housing units to indicate a heating system failure. If you observe a warning light turned on, call AMH maintenance at 907-753-1091 immediately. 


3.5.1 EXTERIOR CARE RESPONSIBILITIES. Housing areas/units are inspected weekly for areas which do not meet AMH and JBER standards.  

3.5.2 SPIGOTS AND HOSES. When not in use, hoses must be neatly stored either on a hose hanger or coiled on the ground. Hose rollers/holders cannot be mounted onto the exterior siding of the units. Prior to the first hard freeze, remove and drain hoses thoroughly before storing them for the winter. Hose bib covers are available from the Self Help Center and must be used during winter months.  These covers provide additional protection to pipes from freezing temperatures. Hoses may not be attached to the unit’s hot water heater for any purpose. 

3.5.3 PORCHES AND DECKS. Porches and decks are to be clutter free, not used for storage, and should not detract from appearance standards. Store children’s toys, coolers, tires, pet items, etc. in garages, sheds or basements. Porches and decks must be broom clean: this includes removal of accumulated debris and trash, and sweeping of the area. Excessive accumulation of dirt, gummy materials, oil, and grease stains must be removed. 

3.5.4 SCREENS. Screens are required to remain in windows and to be in good condition.  Screens can be brought in to the Self Help Center for repair by Tenant at no cost.  Screens that are ripped or damaged and not repaired may be assessed fees.   

3.5.5 SIDING.  House siding must be kept clean at all times.  Do not allow children to bounce balls off siding or otherwise deface the side of the house. Do not allow pets to scratch, dirty, or otherwise deface the exterior of the unit. Do not allow pets to dig around the foundation. Tenants are not permitted to attach any item to the exterior of the home without an approved Special Modification Request Form. Wind chimes, hanging plants, and flags in appropriate flag pole holders are permitted. 


3.6.1 GROUNDS UPKEEP RESPONSIBILITIES. Tenants are responsible for individual yards extending out to a point that is midway between adjoining units, or if fronted by a street, out to the street. Strips of grass between the street and sidewalks, bike paths intersecting yards, and, small landscaped areas also fall within the Tenant’s responsibility. The general rule of thumb is 75 feet from the unit’s permanent foundation, however, this figure may vary depending on the housing area. If using the 75 feet guideline takes the Tenant into a common area, i.e. play park, or wooded area, the Tenant is not responsible for the upkeep of those areas.  

3.6.2 LAWN CARE. Sidewalks, curbs, and driveways must be edged and trimmed to maintain a neat appearance.  Do not dig a trench when edging.  Mow as necessary to maintain a neat appearance.  Grass should not exceed three (3) inches in height or should not be cut to less than two (2) inches.  Trim grass around foundation of house, base of trees, and doorsteps as necessary. Lawns must be given adequate water to maintain a healthy state.  Do not wait until the lawn starts turning brown to start watering. Tenants should fertilize and apply lime to lawns each spring. Fertilizer, lime, and grass seed are available in limited amounts at the Self Help Center. Instructions and advice for maintaining pristine lawns are posted on our blog during summer months ( For repairs to lawn areas, see Appendix C: AMH Bare Lawn Restoration Requirements

3.6.3 LANDSCAPED AREAS.Tenants are accountable for all landscaping-bark, rock, planters, etc. that fall in their area of responsibility. Landscaped areas must be kept weed free and in good condition. If Tenants desire to upgrade AMH landscaped areas, they must first submit a Special Modification Request form and receive approval prior to proceeding with the work.  

3.6.4 TREES AND SHRUBS. Trees and shrubs cannot be removed without approval.  Tenants will be responsible for the replacement of bushes or trees that have been damaged or removed without permission.  Trim bushes, low hanging tree branches, and ‘sucker’ growth at base of trees.   

3.6.5 TRASH/DEBRIS. Tenants must keep yards free of debris: paper, cans, candy wrappers, pet waste, etc.  Pet waste must be removed and disposed of on a daily basis. Proper disposal requires waste to be placed inside a plastic bag and disposed of inside a trash receptacle. Throwing any trash or waste into common or wooded areas is prohibited. 

3.6.6 SNOW REMOVAL. Tenants are responsible for snow and ice removal within their individual driveways and sidewalks in front, behind or beside their unit. Within 24 hours of snowfall these areas must be shoveled edge to edge (no pathways). Snow and ice from the driveway and sidewalks may not be put into the residential streets. Tenants are also responsible for removing any snow left alongside or around their vehicle after snow removal equipment has been through their area.

Don’t have a yard to shovel snow into? Read this. 

3.6.7 SNOW REMOVAL FOR EMERGENCY EGRESS. Tenants are responsible for ensuring adequate emergency egress from their unit including, but not limited to, removing snow from fenced yard gate areas, basement egress window and cover, exterior stairwells, porches, decks, patios, sidewalks and driveways.