Tenant or Property Owner Responsible For Repairs

Is The Tenant or The Landlord Property Owner Responsible For Repairs If so what repairs?

Miguel is asking a question. Apparently his tenants moved in, they've been there about two months and they just submitted a repair request for two faucets that appear to be leaking. Miguel wants to know, is this his expense as the landlord, or is this the tenant's expense?

Typically the most atypical would be that it would be a landlord expense. That's the whole point of becoming a tenant is that when something breaks, something's wrong on the property, you don't have to deal with it. You just call the landlord and the landlord will deal with it. That doesn't mean that that's always the case. This would come down to whatever you have in your lease. So if you actually stipulated in the lease that the tenant would be responsible for repairs, then the tenant would be responsible for repairs. If you did not put that in the lease, then you would have to be responsible for the repairs.

Anything that you rented that was present in working or a reasonable person should have assumed would've been working when the tenant previewed the property before they signed the lease, you would have to provide that. So if the tenant saw a faucet; the assumption would be that the faucet works. If the tenant moved in and somehow something happened to the faucet, it would be your obligation to fix that faucet.

Now, if you had gone in a lease and said, Hey, I'll do repairs with everything except for the faucet, then that would not be your responsibility. However, if you had stipulated the lease that you would not be responsible for repairs and you wouldn't be, so we commonly do that.

Our lease is built in such a way that will let the tenant know that we are going to be eligible for refrigerator, the essential air unit, the stove, the washer, the dryer, the microwave, the garbage disposal, et cetera. But say the tenants left a grill and it's a newer grill, and it looks like it's something that the next tenants might value. We'll actually put in the lease that says, "We're going to fix everything except for that grill. If you want the grill, great - if you don't want the grill, dispose of it. If you're using the grill and it's working out great for you and something goes wrong with it, the property owner is not going to be responsible for that bonus grill." So, we will actually go ahead and put that in there, and so could you.

I think that most atypical, what tenants expect is that the landlords would actually make repairs to the property. I mean, it is the landlord's property, not the tenants. Do you really want a tenant fixing items? You don't have any control if it's a good contractor or a bad contractor; you don't have any control if it's even a contract here at all. Legally the expense falls to the landlord if you didn't have that built into the lease. The expense is always on the property owner unless otherwise stated in the lease contract.


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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