A tenant has a right to live a habitable rental property, but what about cosmetic or minor problems that an apartment or rental house has. What repairs are landlords forced to repair, and what kinds of repairs may a landlord ignore?
Landlord repairs: What must a landlord fix?
Even if it is not in your rental agreement or lease, your landlord is required to keep your building and unit in a habitable condition. This means that your landlord must ensure that the building is structurally sound, provide hot and cold water, ensure that the roof is not leaking, and keep the plumbing, electrical and heating systems all in safe operating condition. Also, if a rental property has become infested with pests, landlords must often pay for an exterminator, unless the infestation was caused by your wrongdoing or poor housekeeping.
Landlord repairs: What does a landlord not have to fix?
There are minor problems that a landlord is not required by law to fix. These minor problems may include things like dripping faucets, running toilets, small holes in carpet, grimy grout or torn window screens. Even though these problems may be annoying for you, the tenant, to live with, your landlord may not be under any obligation to repair these issues.
There are only a few occasions when minor repairs may be required to be fixed. If the terms of your lease agreement state that the landlord will fix any of the problems you are having, then the landlord is under a legal duty to do so. In addition, if your landlord ever promised you a repair, either in writing or by talking with you, you may be able to hold your landlord to that promise. Lastly, state and local building codes, as well as state landlord-tenant laws may require your landlord to make repairs that would otherwise be a repair left to the landlord's discretion.
Tips to get your Landlord to make Minor Repairs
There are many strategies that tenants can employ to get their landlords to make minor repairs. While tenants that are faced with uninhabitable conditions may elect to withhold rent or repair the problem themselves while deducting from the rent, tenants faced with only minor problems may get into trouble by doing the same thing.
Here are some tips to get your landlord to make minor repairs.
Protect Your Right to Landlord Repairs: Contact an Attorney
Landlord/tenant issues can quickly become contentious, which is why all communications should be carefully planned. A clear understanding of your rights and obligations will help you navigate the exchange successfully. Contact a local landlord-tenant law attorney to learn more about your rights as a tenant.