Tenant Obligations

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on January 23, 2007 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

If, anything breaks down in your apartment and needs to be repaired, a tenant must immediately inform the landlord in writing, giving a clear description of the problem, retaining a copy for his / her records.

Most state laws specify that a landlord is required to carry out repairs within a specified period of time. In case, a landlord fails to respond within the fixed timeframe, despite the rent being paid up, a tenant is entitled to:

  1. Vacate his / her rental premises, if the problem poses a threat to health and safety.
  2. Carry out repairs, deducting the cost from his / her rent.
  3. And, in case a tenant is able to, he / she may repair the damage himself / herself, deducting the cost of supplies and labour from the rent.

State and local laws specify in detail how much can be spent on repairs and what procedure has to be followed to deduct the cost from the rent. However, in certain states, a tenant is permitted to withhold rent, if his / her landlord refuses to carry out repairs. As well, a tenant should take pictures of the problem, for example, photos of an overflowing sewer, broken door or window, cockroaches in the kitchen / bathroom, etc. All these will come in handy as evidence, in the eventuality there is a lawsuit.

As well, the local housing department can be asked to come and inspect the rental premises, so they check out if any local housing or health codes are being violated by your landlord. Any code violations found, will put extra pressure on a landlord to fix the problem on an urgent basis.

A tenant must also remember he / she is responsible for any damage to the rental unit, even if it is caused by guests or roommates. And, if the neighbours are loud, noisy and loathsome, one can while chatting to them politely, make sure they know you would appreciate it, if they could tone down the volume. If, the chat doesn’t do it, get the boys in blue to discuss the issue with them. And, if even that doesn’t do it, talk it over with your landlord, informing him / her of your intention to move out, in case the issue isn’t resolved to your satisfaction. Enlist the help of your neighbours, as most landlords would rather see one troublemaker go, than risk losing several good tenants.

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