Who is responsible for the repairs during a lease, the landlord or the tenant?

There is a lease agreement containing terms and conditions signed by both the tenant and landlord. Even though this lease clearly mentions the responsibilities of the tenant regarding repairs, it is common to see disputes arising between tenants and landlords. This is because there are always grey areas concerning some aspects of repairs and maintenance in the lease agreement. Let’s find out which repair areas fall upon tenants and which ones
correspond to the landlord.

Repairs that are the landlord’s responsibilities

The responsibility to keep the unit in good shape entirely falls upon the landlord when it is occupied by a tenant. Structural issues are to be handled by the landlord. He must act to fix roof leaks and external wall repairs when the situation demands.

Landlords are also responsible for electrical wiring and plumbing. A tenant can ask for these repairs whenever there is a problem arising out of wiring or plumbing lines. If something goes wrong with the stove, geyser or electric fencing, it’s the landlord who must pay for those repairs. Similarly, he must look after the automatic gate system and the pumps installed in the pool. 

It is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure that all health and safety regulations are followed, and timely inspections are carried out.

The tenant’s responsibilities

While the responsibility of keeping the unit in good shape falls upon the landlord, the responsibility of some of the repairs fall upon the tenants. Repairs derived from normal wear and tear are to be carried out by the landlord, but repairs required because of poor maintenance from the tenants are not his responsibility. If the damage to the structure is caused by any act of commission or omission by the tenants, its repair becomes their responsibility. Tenants are also responsible when failing to report problems leading to broken appliances or damaged structure. For instance, annual gutters cleansing falls upon the landlord but a tenant cannot complain about a blocked drain or a leaking roof if they don’t clean and maintain the gutters properly.

Most landlords expect minor repairs to be undertaken (under $120) by their tenants in time so that they do not become big problems. AC filters are usually a tenant’s responsibility. It is prudent on behalf of the landlord to communicate what he expects from the tenant at the time of signing the lease agreement. 

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