Who is Responsible For What Repairs?

One of the best parts about being a renter is most of the repairs fall on the landlord. Your kitchen sink might be leaking, your washing machine doesn’t spin, or your ceiling fan looks like it’s about to come crashing down with every rotation. After you’ve submitted your repair request, just like magic, everything should be fixed by the time you get home from work.

Landlords take most of the financial burden when you take good care of the place. If you are trashing it, they could easily blame you for the broken appliance.  Occasionally with a bad landlord, they will take a couple weeks to fix the issue. Always call your landlord first before you attempt to fix it. Their job, by law, is to make their rental unit livable. If you aren’t sure which repairs fall under your responsibility or your landlords, here are the rules to follow.

Communicate the issue

All repairs should be left to the landlord, and they should be notified of them as soon as possible. They are required to respond within a “reasonable” amount of time. Occasionally, the time frame is stated in the lease. This “reasonable” amount of time really depends on the nature of the problem. If your heater goes off in the dead of winter, this doesn’t need to be put off for a week. If a light switch doesn’t work you will be fine for a few days.

Ultimately look at it like this: does this pose a safety risk, or is it superficial? Does it impede on your ability to do essential daily tasks, or just an inconvenience.

Wait a decent amount of time

If you have effectively communicated the problem to your landlord and they have done nothing about it, you have the option to take matters into your own hands. You may either fix it yourself, or call a general contractor to fix it. From here, always document how and when you gave notice to your landlord of the problem, and why their late response was unreasonable.

As long as you have the right documentation, you can request to be reimbursed from the landlord for any cost it was to you. Remember though, this is only under extreme circumstances like if your heater goes out in winter, or something similar. If it isn’t an emergency, they are allowed several days to make the repair.

If you get too antsy and start making repairs without your landlord’s approval, you could be breaching your lease. Sometimes, if they aren’t happy with your repair, they can evict you.

You are responsible for the day-to-day upkeep of your place, while the landlord is responsible for the bigger problems, and the condition of the property.

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