What are landlords required to repair?
Renting can be confusing when it comes to knowing who is responsible for paying for certain repairs. On rare occasions, the lease will spell everything out, but normally only the major repairs are mentioned. Regardless of what a lease says, a landlord is responsible for providing a place that is safe and livable. But what exactly does that mean?
The landlord is responsible for providing a working heat source. He must keep the furnace in safe working condition and have any needed repairs made within a reasonable amount of time. It is the tenant’s responsibility to provide the actual heat service unless it is included in the rent.
A landlord must provide the means for running hot and cold water. This means he is responsible for providing a water tank, heater and pipes that can effectively carry water from the source to the building and to each sink, tub and toilet. Minor leaks are often the responsibility of the tenant as is basic water service, unless provided for in the lease.
The landlord must provide working smoke alarms in accordance with local guidelines. It is the tenant’s responsibility to make sure they are kept in place and that the batteries are working.
A roof that doesn’t leak, walls that don’t have cracks in them and a safe foundation are all responsibilities of the landlord, unless the tenant is the one that caused the damage. It is also the landlord’s responsibility to provide windows and doors that lock and provide safety to those who live in the structure.
Infestations of mice, rats, roaches and other pests are the responsibility of the landlord. An exception to this is when this infestation is caused by a tenant’s poor housekeeping. This issue often creates the most disagreement because of the differences in what “good housekeeping” means. If floors are clear, garbage is not left in the open and food and dirty dishes are not allowed to sit around, then the tenant is likely not to blame for the infestation.
If there are issues
If you are in a situation where a landlord has refused to provide basic repairs to conditions that affect your health and safety, or you believe your tenant is responsible for the repairs, there are legal ways in which you can get the situation rectified. Contact a lawyer experienced in landlord/tenant law to seek a solution.