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When is a landlord obligated to make repairs?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2022 | Real Estate Law |

As a landlord, it’s very important to know when you are legally obligated to repair the space that your tenant is renting. For residential properties, it is always important for landlords to keep the space in a safe and livable condition. 

Landlords are also obligated to make repairs that they have agreed to make, either in the lease, verbally or in writing after the fact. Many tenants may have to put in repair requests because the landlord isn’t physically living in the space and may not even know that the issues exist, and then the landlord has to make those repairs in a timely manner. 

That being said, there are some situations in which a landlord does not have to make repairs. This usually applies to minor defects or inconveniences, which a tenant may not like, but which may not be legally obligated since they don’t make the space more dangerous or unlivable. 

What are minor repairs? 

Minor repairs can take a lot of different forms, as all landlords know well. Some potential issues include: 

  • Torn window screens
  • Small carpet holes
  • Dripping faucets
  • Grimy grout
  • Running toilets
  • Scratches on the paint or the baseboards 

When things really become complicated, however, is when a landlord and a tenant disagree about the severity of the issue. Your tenant might insist that you have to make a repair, while you may feel that it is a minor cosmetic defect that you’ll just deal with when you’re switching from this tenant to the next one. If you and your tenant end up in a dispute, then you need to know about all of the options you have.