Landlords and tenants sometimes have very different ideas of what matters are serious and how those issues should be handled. It’s imperative for both sides to be prepared to work through these problems so that there aren’t any negative consequences.
In a dispute, both sides need to review the lease or rental agreement. Some components of a rental property might not necessarily fall on the landlord to fix. For example, landlords typically have to provide tenants with heat — but not air conditioning. Some amenities, such as dishwashers, are often considered optional and wouldn’t be a reason for a tenant to withhold rental payments when it breaks.
What must a landlord do for a tenant?
While this may vary according to your location and lease, most landlords have to provide:
- Running water: hot and cold
- Smoke detectors, possibly carbon monoxide detectors
- Safe common areas
- Keys and locks for entries
There might be other responsibilities for the landlord. These are often included in the lease. For the most part, tenants are required to keep the premises clean and free of damage. They must not break things the landlord provides, and they have to report damage and problems to the landlord quickly. They must also make rental payments in full and on time.
When there are disagreements between a landlord and a tenant, both sides need to determine the acceptable outcomes. For some, negotiating a solution will be viable. In other cases, the tenant might have to move out. Some may also have to go through a court battle. Think carefully before you embark on any of these so you can be sure it’s what you want to do.