A repair request for a rented home or apartment is not the moment to be shy. Know your rights and how to make repair requests.
- In most places, the landlord is responsible for keeping the home “habitable.”
- The landlord has the right to inspect the place to make sure you’re not trashing it.
- Unless it’s an emergency, you must request the repair from your landlord and not undertake it yourself.
Landlords’ legal responsibilities
Homes and apartments are complex collections of pipes, wires, and equipment, so it’s not surprising that things can go wrong. The big question is what should be done, and by whom?
Let’s start out with the idea that landlords have repair responsibilities. Depending on where you live, these responsibilities may or may not be spelled out in writing. The general idea is that when you rent property, there is a “warranty of habitability.”
“Most jurisdictions read residential leases to include an implied warranty of habitability,” explains Cornell Law School. “This warranty requires landlords to keep their property ‘habitable,’ even if the lease does specifically require them to make repairs.”
Inspections and your obligations
The landlord has a right to inspect the property to assure it’s being maintained in good condition. The landlord must generally give notice before entering the property. There are exceptions for emergencies.
Tenants are responsible for routine repairs, upkeep, and maintenance. Your obligations can change depending on whether you are renting a single-family home, townhouse, or detached property.
As a tenant, you have an obligation to maintain the property. A lease will generally provide that a landlord can charge for the cost of repairs up to a certain limit, say $75 per item per incident. Leases may also have a repair cost limit, say $500.
Renters are responsible for repairs and replacements caused by tenant misuse or negligence. For example, dozens of small circular holes in a ceiling of one rental property, requiring repair….