Ultimate Landlord Responsibility Guide for Tenants: Maintenance, Repairs and Tenant Act Laws
As the property owner of an apartment, the landlord has certain responsibilities to take care of. Before renting an apartment unit the landlord has to make sure the property is safe to live in and is up to code. The landlord’s job isn’t just collecting rent every first of the month. Landlords are known to be cheap and will do anything like cut corners to save a few hundred bucks. Your landlord might be putting off a few of his responsibilities.
Since not all apartments are the same landlord responsibilities vary from apartment to apartment, you should check your lease and local laws to see if he or she is skipping out on any responsibilities. Here are the most common neglected duties most landlord’s skipped out on.
1. Cracking Down on Your Festivities
Like most of us we like to have a get-together every now and then or even a small party for a family member but cracking down your party is something a landlord has to do because it has to keep the rest of your neighbors happy.
“If you hear a knock on your door don’t be surprised that it’ll be your landlord,” says, Paul Stevenson, a manager in a 60-unit apartment in downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “Noise complaint is one of the most common complaints landlords get”, says Stevenson.
2. Unclogging the Toilet
Unclogging a toilet must be a landlord’s common task since most families that live in apartment buildings have small children and small children usually stick toys down the toilet. Sticking a plunger down another person’s toilet is disgusting, but it’s something that your landlord has to do.
3. Unclogging Clogged Drains
Clogged drains are the worst, the first signs are slow drainage along with a bad rotten water smell and after a few days, the water doesn’t want to go down. There are many reasons why drains get clogged:
- Miscellaneous items
- Build up
- Fat oil & grease build-up
Whatever is clogging your ticket and or bathroom sink your landlord should be able to take care of it.
“With 4 women in a 3-bedroom, 2-baths apartment our drains are always getting clogged due to all the hair and hair products” says, Marie Belasco an apartment renter Harrisburg, PA.
4. Taking Care of Unwanted Pests
One of the most annoying things one could have in an apartment is ants, cockroach and or mice problem. The landlord is responsible for controlling pests in and around the apartment building but as a tenant, it’s your job to put all your food away and clean after yourself.
The renters who might not have it as easy are the folks renting a townhouse or single house. Most of the renters renting these types of units are typically responsible for any type of pest control, you should check your lease and local code.
“When I first moved into my apartment there wasn’t a pest on sight, but after a neighbor moved out I couldn’t open a cabinet door without seeing roaches crawling all over my clean dishes. I set cockroach traps all over my kitchen but it didn’t help”, says, Greg Dennis a first time apartment renter. “After seeing the crack on the wall where the roaches were coming out of I decided to get caulking compound to seal all the cracks and holes on the wall, best decision ever”, Dennis says.
5. Maintaining Your Air-Conditioning and Heating System
Air conditioning is one of those things that not all apartment units have, but when one is provided who takes care of maintenance? The tenant or the landlord?
Before signing a lease make sure you read who takes care of the AC. Some states and manage companies require the landlord to do regular repairs in the summer and winter times. For example, if the weather report says it’s going be over 85 degrees Fahrenheit the landlord is required to repair or send a handyman to repair it. Other manage companies don’t provide a heater or air-condition unit to its tenants.
“I moved into my apartment in the winter and it got a little chilly in December but I wasn’t prepared for the heat in the summer. My apartment got so hot that opening all the windows and doors wasn’t cutting it. I had to purchase a heavy-duty portable air-conditioning that was $250+ out of my own pocket. The heat was so bad in the summer that I would find any excuse not to go home” says, Samuel Sanders a 10-year apartment renter. “I complained to my landlord but he never did anything about it” Sanders says.
Having a Laundromat on sight is a perk that many renters look for when deciding on an apartment, but what happens when the washers and dryers are always broken or out of service?
Having to drive to a Laundromat is such a hassle for renters. All the tenants complain to the landlord but he never does anything about it, the main reason I decided to move to this apartment complex was because of the washers and dryers that are on sight but they never work” says, Stephanie Lauren an apartment renter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “Now I have doubts about living here, the nearest coin laundry location is 20 minutes away. By the time I get back all the parking spaces are gone”, Lauren says.
7. Tenant Act Laws
The default rule for CA for breaching a term lease is that you’re on the hook to pay rent. Until such time as the landlord is able to find a new tenant. The landlord is presumed to act in good faith. If they don’t, they could lose the right to collect missing rent.
Generally speaking, a sort-of rule-of-thumb default is “probably not more than two months rent”.
However, the language in the lease can supersede the default rule.
We can’t really interpret your lease for you — that’s too close to actual legal practice.
If left to develop on its own, your situation might wind up with you moving out. Recovering nothing from the deposit. If the landlord tries to get you to pay for lost rent and you refuse, the landlord would have to sue you. At that point, if you have evidence that you believe shows the landlord turning down tenants who would have moved in sooner, that could get you off the hook for some amount of the rent.
Note, also, that in most California lease templates. There are laws that make the loser of any legal dispute arising from the tenancy to pay the other side’s legal expenses. Though no attorneys are allowed in small claims court, some amount of lawyer fees might fall under that.
It’s very likely that in a scenario like that, you would owe some money for lost rent, which could make you the “loser” for purposes of fee-reversal. So that needs to be taken into consideration as you decide what to do. You might lose something in the hundreds up to a thousand or so beyond the unpaid rent.