Landlord vs. Tenant: Who Is Responsible for What?

What exactly is a landlord required to maintain and repair and what, if anything, is the tenant responsible for? Also, who is held liable for mold? Let’s break it down.

Major Repairs

The landlord is required to keep his or her building structure in habitable conditions. This includes:

  • Upkeep and repairs for all stairways, floors, common areas, and roofs
  • Keeping all electrical, heating, and plumbing systems operating safely
  • Supplying hot and cold water in reasonable amounts
  • Exterminating infestations of pests such as mice, cockroaches, and bedbugs.

Minor Repairs

Assigning responsibility for minor repairs can be less straight-forward than major repairs as it depends on a number of factors. The best way to determine this is to examine the nature of the repair by asking whether the problem is purely cosmetic or if it creates an uninhabitable dwelling for the tenant. If it is the former, the repair is more likely to be the tenant’s responsibility but if it is the latter, the tenant has a better chance of having it repaired by the landlord.

If you are still unsure who is responsible for the repairs, you can check the following for more clarification:

  • The terms of your lease
  • Any oral or written promises your landlord has made
  • State and local business codes
  • State landlord-tenant laws

Mold

Laws vary from state to state and city to city which makes determining and proving who is responsible for addressing mold issues challenging.

A helpful way to help determine whether the landlord or the tenant is responsible is to look at the cause of the mold. If the mold has grown due to leaking pipes, windows, or roofs left unrepaired, it’s likely the landlord will be held responsible for the mold growth. However, if the mold is caused by the tenant (ex: creating high humidity in the unit or failing to maintain cleanliness), the landlord is not responsible for it.

If your landlord/tenant issue remains unresolved and has grown larger than you feel you’re able to handle on your own, we invite you to contact us by booking a free consultation at one of our eight office locations and sharing the specifics of your situation.