Five Repairs Your Landlord Should Cover in a Standard Lease
There are several things to know before signing a standard lease contract when leasing a commercial office or residential apartment.
Your lease should include the landlord’s responsibilities and yours as the tenant. The details of these responsibilities should be clearly stated to avoid future problems.
Costs for Communal Services
A landlord may own the building and property but may also charge for communal services provided to all tenants within an office or residential complex.
Cost for repairs for communal services may or may not be shared with the landlord and include costs such as municipal water and sewerage as well as maintenance for lobbies, janitorial closets or repairs.
Repairs to Exterior or Interior of Building
Repairs for damage to exterior areas of the building such as sidewalks, siding, windows and doors should be covered by the landlord.
Interior repairs are usually the cause of disagreements between landlord and tenant. For example, if the damage is the direct result of tenant negligence, the landlord may charge the cost of interior repairs. Interior repairs due to no fault of the tenant should be covered by the landlord under operating expenses.
Storm or Natural Disaster Damage Repairs
This is also a “no fault” issue that should be covered by your landlord. However, it is recommended that all tenants apply for renter’s insurance to cover losses of personal effects due to storm or natural disaster damages. Renter’s insurance is typically inexpensive and worth looking into if you haven’t opted for it before.
When drains leak or pipes burst and cause damage to your office or apartment, this is part of the landlord’s operating expenses. However, some landlords charge a fee if there is reason to believe plumbing damage was due to tenant negligence such as clogged drains or toilets or through unusual or excessive use.
Ceiling or Flooring Repairs
Generally ceiling and floor repairs are the result of damages in older buildings that have not been adequately inspected and maintained. Since these represent a safety hazard for tenants, broken floor tiles or cracks in ceilings not due to tenant negligence should be covered by your landlord.
Details of repair or replacement of an HVAC system should be covered under your tenant’s obligation as expenses. An HVAC system is part of the landlord’s operating expenses. Without working heat or AC, homes may become very unpleasant depending on your climate. Don’t forget to look for this in your lease.
Though operating expenses vary in landlord definition, providing adequate heat in cold weather and cooling in hot weather should be covered by the landlord in a standard lease agreement. Heating system or air conditioning repairs may be a shared cost between landlord and tenant.
Once you know the types of repairs that can occur as a tenant, it is easier to identify them in a standard lease. However, if there are any questionable repairs, before signing the lease agreement you can consult with a legal adviser who specializes in tenant rights. Never sign a lease without knowing the details. When something breaks in your home, you should already know whose responsibility it is to get it repaired.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys Tennis and spending time with her family.
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