Home repairs are inevitable. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, when problems arise, they will need to be fixed. But who is responsible for making repairs in a rental? From accidental breaks to natural wear and tear, there are a myriad of possible repairs to come.
If you are a tenant and you break something, even accidentally, you will most likely have to pay to fix it. On the other hand, if something cracks due to age, the landlord is typically responsible for the repair. But when it comes to minor repairs, even those simple enough that a tenant can fix it, you want to be sure the right side takes the right responsibility.
Review Your Lease
When it comes to any sort of maintenance, from lawn care to repairs, check back to the lease agreement that you signed when you first moved in. In most cases, the lease should detail which repairs would be the landlord’s responsibility, or the tenant’s. If the lease is unclear, don’t hesitate to reach out to the landlord for clarification. Also consider the level of repair needed and if it directly affects your health and safety. If you have a squeaky door, this may be a wasted call. However, if the lock on your front door is broken, a call to the landlord is most likely necessary.
Research State Laws
In all states, tenants have the right to habitable living conditions, such as heat, water and electricity, though it may be on them to pay for these utilities. However, if a boiler breaks down or a pipe bursts, the responsibility will fall onto the landlord. For repairs that are costly, but you are unsure whether or not the landlord should handle it, check your state laws for clarification. Even make a trip or call to your local town hall, as they may have more direct answers to your questions.
When it comes to minor repairs or maintenance issues, most of the time, this will automatically fall to the tenant. For example, a burnt-out lightbulb, a missing screw on a cabinet door or mildew in the shower typically fall to the people living in the rental. When it comes to the small stuff, most tenants should have no problems with these issues, even if they aren’t fully detailed in a lease agreement. In addition to these minor problems, anything cleaning related, such as a stain in the carpet or an old air filter, are also a tenant’s responsibility.
For issues pertaining to mold or mildew that is unrelated to the tenants, such as foundation problems or issues stemming from other units, it will fall to the landlord to take care of. For tenants, if these issues arise, be sure to notify the landlord immediately to avoid worsening or permanent damage.
For tenants living in a rental, be sure to treat it as if you own the place. The better the property is taken care of, the fewer issues will arise in the future. For landlords, always be sure to get rental units inspected before a tenant moves in to ensure their health and safety, as well as preventing costly issues down the road. Remember to review your lease agreement upon discovery of any maintenance issues, check with your state laws and keep the lines of communication open.