Tenant Rights for Repair Issues in A Rental Property

Have you confirmed who pays for the repairs in the rental property you’re moving into?

Property repairs for your house or a rental apartment and associated maintenance costs can be quite expensive. While landlords are required by law to make rental units habitable, we all know that some landlords do a good job at this and others just fail at repairs. For this reason, as well as the fact that some landlords would like tenants to repair and fix issues in the rental units they occupy, an understanding of the roles and responsibility of the parties to the rental agreement is important.

Is the tenant responsible for rental repairs?

Often, the party responsible for repairs to a rental unit depends on the type of damage on the property, what is damaged, or how the damage occurred.

Repairs that the landlord is responsible for

In many states, the landlord has the obligation of repairing the rental space by ensuring that the unit is habitable. For habitability, the building has to meet the minimum requirements for safety and building standards.

In essence, it’s up to the landlord to ensure that the unit’s plumbing works well. For example, there shouldn’t be water leaks or a broken toilet, the heating system must work well, the unit should be pest-free, and the electrical systems should be safely installed, working well, and old fixtures replaced. The landlord is also responsible for repairing and replacing busted doors and windows.

Note that if a rental property gets infested by pests, and the infestation is not because of the tenant’s poor housekeeping or because of your wrongdoing, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to deal with the pests. You may download a rental lease agreement from forms.legal website.

If you’re unsure about the things that the landlord needs to fix and the ones they’re not responsible for, go back to your residential lease/ rental agreement. For example, if the agreement lists a washing machine as a fixed unit in the apartment and that the landlord is to fix it, you should ask your landlord to fix it.

Remember that every tenant has the right to live in a habitable rental unit.

Is the landlord responsible for minor repairs?

In most cases, the landlord is not responsible for minor or cosmetic repairs, especially if the repairs do not affect that habitability of the unit. You shouldn’t run to the landlord for running toilets, dripping faucets, grimy grout, torn window screens, or a stained carpet.

If you caused the minor damage or someone you live with did, for example, your kids, you will have to pay for the repairs, especially if the damage is not regarded as wear and tear.

The Use of Security Deposit to Pay for Repairs

Your security deposit will be used to cover the cost of property repairs if the damage as caused by your actions, rather than the effects of wear and tear. For this to happen, you’ll have to complete the Rental Inspection Report with the landlord when moving out. In this report, you will compare the state of that unit when you moved in and compare it to how it looked when you move out. This comparison happens in the presence of the landlord. The cost of repairs for damages you caused will be on you unless the damage is a result of wear and tear. Examples of wear and tear include faded paint.

Asking the landlord for repairs – The Rental Repair Notice

For your landlord to repair things that affect your home’s habitability, you need to give the landlord or the property manager a repair notice. This notice should document the details of the item that requires maintenance. You should expect action within 14-30 days.

If the landlord fails to act as fast as expected, you might have to bring out the big guns – like withholding rent, calling the health inspectors, moving out, or you could repair the issue then deduct the cost from the rent. If required, you may download free Alaska rental lease, Texas, Michigan or any other US state renal lease agreement template PDF from forms.legal website.