When it comes to maintaining a rental property’s condition, it should come as no surprise that most of the responsibility falls on the landlord. Tenants are generally obligated to keep properties clean and safe, while landlords must address more serious issues.
However, landlords aren’t obligated to repair everything. To clarify things, here are 5 home repairs that landlords have an obligation to deal with.
Electricals are a landlord’s responsibility, although this typically covers wiring rather than electronic devices. The only crossover would be appliances that came with the rental property (such as cookers and refrigerators).
2. HVAC and Hot Water
Similarly, heating, cooling, and gas-based appliances all come under the landlord’s responsibility. You might already notice a theme here: a landlord’s obligations typically relate to areas that require professionals and that we could define as necessary for safe or comfortable habitation.
Heating and cooling appliances are pretty important for comfortable habitation, although you might have some leeway with how quickly you get an HVAC system repaired. That said, annual inspections are probably a more cost-effective option, as you can catch issues before the system breaks down.
Major gutter issues, such as gutter blockages and ice damming in gutters, would fall under the landlord’s responsibility. However, minor problems, such as a leaky gutter, may not. It ultimately depends on whether the issue renders the property unhabitable, which a leaking tap wouldn’t.
Within this category, you should include gutter maintenance – both in the home and around it. For example, if a pipe bursts inside the property boundary, it’ll be the landlord’s responsibility.
Tenants can help with this by reporting any signs of gutter clogging as soon as they appear. Even minor problems – such as water overflowing – should be reported as soon as possible to avoid extensive damage.
Granted, this isn’t a repair in the same sense as the others on this list, but it’s a problem that may require repairs indirectly. Pest infestations – particularly mice and rats or roaches – can lead to property damage if left unchecked.
Similarly, an infestation could imply unnoticed property damage, such as in a crawlspace or basement. It’s worth calling in an exterminator, even for small signs of pests, to deal with the problem before it gets too bad.
5. Structural Integrity
This is an obvious one, but it’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure a property is structurally sound. Specifically, pay attention to external walls, where damage could lead to leaks and damp problems. Landlords should also conduct regular inspections of areas including basements and attics, as damage here can otherwise go unnoticed for a long time.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to work out what repairs fall under a landlord’s responsibility. If it’s something that a tenant can live with – chipped paint, minor drywall damage, carpet tears, etc. – landlords shouldn’t be in a rush to deal with it.
Of course, if there’s any uncertainty about whether something should be repaired, it might be worth just doing so. After all, any outstanding issues must be addressed when the tenant leaves anyway.