Repair and Maintenance

Tenants are obligated to keep their property in good shape. Your landlord is not the only one with responsibilities to keep the rental unit reasonably maintained.The tenancy agreement require you, the tenant, to keep house a certain way, as the list below demonstrates.

Now, you may be wondering what your housekeeping responsibilities have to do with major repairs that are on the shoulders of the landlord. The answer is that if a major habitability problem is the result of your not keeping up your end of the maintenance bargain, you cannot expect the landlord to pay for the repair. For example, if your only toilet is clogged because your maid tried to flush a diaper, it’s a habitability problem and the cost of repairing will fall squarely on you. You cannot withhold rent or use a repair and deduct statute, if you are in violation of a lease clause or other important tenant responsibility.

You are obligated to:

  • Keep your rental unit as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permits.
  • Dispose of garbage, rubbish, and other waste in a clean and safe manner.
  • Keep plumbing fixtures as clean as their condition permits.
  • Use electrical, plumbing, sanitary, lighting, air-conditioning, and other facilities and other systems, including elevators, properly.
  • Fix things you break or damage.
  • Notify the landlord promptly of defective or dangerous conditions on the property.

Your landlord can’t, however, charge you for problems caused by normal wear and tear for example, a cabinet that has worn out from years of use.

Knowing about and fulfilling your own responsibilities as a tenant makes you more than just a virtuous renter. The dividends of living up to your duties include the confidence that:

  • You can expect a positive reference from this landlord when you move on to the next rental.
  • You are well positioned should you need to ask an occasional favor, letting your sister stay with you for a month while she looks for her own place.
  • You can negotiate for a better rental when you are looking to renew your lease.