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Are Renters Responsible for Repairs?

repairs in kitchen

The perfect apartment may not be so perfect after you move in. The dishwasher may not work correctly, or the sink may only spew out cold water. Before moving in, take the time to go through your rental from top to bottom, left to right. Make note of any needed repairs and keep the communication lines open with your property manager. Take a gallery full of pictures to back up your claims. By law, your rental must have:

  • Heat
  • Hot and Cold Water
  • Windows and Doors That Lock
  •  Electricity and Plumbing
  • No Pests
  • All Building Requirements Met

If you spot anything that may need to be reported, do not wait. Be prompt with your request and your property manager should be quick in fixing them. Here are a few things to know when it comes to repairs and rentals.


Who is Responsible for the Repairs?

When it comes to who should be doing the repairs for your rental, it may be best to stay away from doing them yourself. It’s one of the perks of renting, after all. Call on the super or someone from maintenance to come to your home. Usually, a maintenance request is submitted by the rental office. For repairs, the time frame is typically 24-48 hours. If you can keep a record of every claim you submit, this will ensure accountability and order.

Could Maintenance Come In Without My Knowledge or Permission?

There may be a point in time where someone may have to come into your apartment to fix an issue that could be affecting other renters, like a leak. In any case, you can request that if someone is coming in to conduct a repair without your knowledge or you are not home, they must have the repair in writing. In many cases, maintenance will leave a note on your door or call you to ensure you are aware that an issue was being resolved.

What Happens if My Repairs Never Get Fixed?

So you’ve put in a request for maintenance, and you haven’t heard a peep from your super or the staff. Unfortunately, this can turn a molehill into a mountain. We suggest that if you cannot get in contact with anyone from property management, then consult with legal aid or an attorney. You can also research tenancy advocacy groups that assist with reporting code violations, or even moving you out if conditions are just too dangerous. Either way, moving into your new rental is an exciting time and should remain that way throughout your stay. So don’t despair when things go wrong. Consider your options and be vigilant in your requests.

How Much Do Repairs Cost?

It is expected that, through time, some machines or fixtures may need to be repaired in your apartment rental. Wear and tear is normal and should be brought to your attention before there is a need to fix it. For machines that you have broken, like the washer and dryer or a clogged drain, you may have to shell out the funds to get those fixed. For issues with your garbage disposal or your refrigerator, you can depend on the property manager to fix those. Perhaps you request an item to be fixed and the property manager takes too long resolving the issue. While you may be tempted to withhold rent as a gesture of rebellion against the property manager until the issue is resolved, this approach could cause even more issues. A possible alternative is “Repair and Deduct.” If the landlord takes longer than necessary to fix the problem and you end up paying out of pocket for the expense, you can request the amount be deducted from your monthly rent. “Repair and Deduct” can work as long as your property manager agrees to it and you are current on rent.

What Does the Law Say?

One thing to always be privy to is your state’s “Residential Landlord and Tenant Act” or your state’s “Rental Housing Act.” This act thoroughly defines the landlord's responsibilities to you as a tenant in your state. If your state does not have a Residential Landlord or Tenant Act, then inquire about your state’s similar adopted parts of the legal doctrine. It’s also important to note the term “Implied Warranty of Habitability” when moving into your rental. This requirement means that landlords “maintain their rental units in safe, operable, and sanitary conditions” at all times.

Tired of repairs? Check out newer apartments on Apartments.com; we’ve got you covered.

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