Whether you’re a renter or a landlord, it can be hard to understand what landlords are and aren’t responsible for. And when a utility breaks, the repair cost can be high, so it’s crucial to determine who is responsible. While state and local legislation may differ, some consistencies prevail. To help, this article will answer who exactly is responsible for the repairs needed in a rental property.
Check the Lease Agreement
Landlords will typically have a repair clause in their lease agreement to ensure there are no issues when determining who is responsible for what. Ideally, it should state precisely when the landlord is accountable for paying for a repair and when the tenant is responsible. Additionally, it should include what is and isn’t considered an emergency maintenance issue so the tenant can know when to expect repairs. However, the landlord’s overall responsibility is to ensure that the unit is livable, though habitable living laws vary from state to state.
When Are Tenants Responsible for Repairs?
Generally, tenants are responsible for repairing damages that they or a guest caused. These can include a broken window, damages caused by a pet, or quick fixes like a burnt-out light bulb. Additionally, suppose a tenant does not report an issue, and the situation has worsened because of tenant negligence, such as a pipe leak. In that case, a tenant may also be responsible for the repair. It is in the tenant’s best interest to take pictures on their move-in day so that if any damage occurs later down the line, they can avoid false accusations.
When Are Landlords Responsible for Repairs?
Landlords are typically responsible for more extensive repairs and things that tend to break due to age, everyday use, or anything that presents a serious safety issue, as long as it is not the tenant’s fault. For example, a landlord is responsible for fixing electrical problems, mold, plumbing, or pest infestations. Landlords can protect themselves by conducting walk-throughs and marking down the date and condition of different aspects of the property.
Knowing who is responsible for the repairs needed in a rental property and how to protect yourself from accusations can save you from wasting your time and money. And remember always to check your state and local laws so you don’t end up paying for something you shouldn’t have to.