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Landlord and Tenant: Rental Property Repair Obligations

May 11, 2023

Renting a property can be a convenient option for those who wish to avoid committing to a long-term mortgage or cannot afford to purchase a home.

However, like any living space, rental properties require maintenance and repairs from time to time. Both landlords and tenants have obligations when it comes to property repairs, but it's essential to understand who is responsible for what.

In this guide, we'll explore the repair obligations of both landlords and tenants, providing you with the knowledge you need to ensure a smooth rental experience.

Tenants' Repair Obligations In A Rental Property

  • Immediately notify the landlord of any needed repairs or maintenance issues.
  • Repairs caused by tenants' negligence are the responsibility of the tenant's repair.
  • Actively prevent pest infestations by regularly inspecting the rental property and reporting any possible signs of pests to the landlord.
  • Replace smoke detector batteries and carbon monoxide detectors as necessary.
  • Replace light bulbs and minor fixtures on their own if they can safely do so without causing harm or damage to the property.
  • Repair damaged walls or hard surfaces that are attributable to tenant negligence.
  • Promptly clean or repair any damages or stains to flooring, carpets or rugs that tenants' activities or negligence have caused.
  • Ensure all appliances and fixtures are in working order unless otherwise noted in the lease agreement.

Landlord Repair Obligations In A Rental Property

Ensures Property Meets Health and Building Codes

Federal, state, and local laws require landlords to keep their properties safe and habitable. This means that landlords must ensure that the unit meets the applicable health and safety standards outlined in the building and housing codes.

It is important to note that failure to make repairs or maintain code compliance can result in stiff fines for landlords and other legal repercussions, including potential eviction of tenants.

Lock Changing

Landlords are responsible for changing the locks on a rental property in certain circumstances, such as when a tenant moves out, or there has been a break-in or other security breach.

In some cases, tenants may be responsible for changing their locks if they feel unsafe in their rental unit due to a security breach or ongoing issue with a former tenant. In this situation, the tenant should speak to their landlord and agree to share the cost of purchasing and replacing the locks.

Maintain Structural Integrity

This includes ensuring that the property is structurally sound and safe for tenants. This can consist of regular inspections checking for signs of structural damage, such as cracks in walls, loose fittings, or evidence of water damage.

If any repairs are needed to make the property structurally secure, landlords are responsible for arranging and paying for them.


If a tenant experiences an issue with the roof, such as leaking or cracking tiles, it is the landlord's responsibility to repair the roof to ensure the safety of their tenants.

Common roofing issues can include missing or loose shingles, cracked tiles, exposed nails, or any other signs of damage. If these issues are not addressed quickly, they can lead to more significant problems, such as water leakage and structural damage, in the future.


Understanding the repair obligations of both landlords and tenants is crucial to maintaining a positive rental experience. Failure to fulfill these obligations can result in legal action and financial penalties. Landlords and tenants can create a safe, habitable, and enjoyable living environment by working together to achieve their respective responsibilities.

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