Repairs are necessary for maintaining the comfort and security a resident can get from a residential rental property. Unfortunately, some repairs can be expensive, and no one wants to shoulder costs they are not responsible for. For this reason, determining who pays for repairs is a frequent cause of disputes between landlords and renters.
What repairs do landlords shoulder?
Under the implied warranty of habitability principle, landlords should ensure that their residential rental properties are safe and livable. No two rental properties are the same, but landlords generally shoulder the cost of fixing the following:
- Structural damage, such as leaking roofs, cracks in foundations or damage from storms and other natural disasters
- Potential health hazards like mold and pest infestations
Landlords are typically in charge of maintaining the property’s essential systems, such as heating and plumbing. In cases where landlords provide appliances like stoves, ovens and dishwashers with the property, they are usually responsible for maintaining these from time to time too.
What repairs do tenants pay for?
Renters generally should keep the rental property in good condition. They are responsible for repairing any damage they or their guests caused. This might include damage to appliances that came with the property.
If tenants modify the property without the landlord’s consent, they might also have to pay to return it to its original state when they move out. For example, if they paint the walls differently, they will likely shoulder the cost of reapplying the previous color.
Renters are also responsible for immediately informing the landlord of repair or maintenance issues. If they fail to do this and the issue worsens, they might be unable to compel the landlord to pay for the repairs.
When disagreements on who shoulders repairs become too complex, involving a real estate attorney might be necessary. A lawyer can help tenants and renters understand and protect their rights and achieve outcomes that are fair for all parties.