Renting out an apartment can be a convenient living arrangement. You have lesser responsibilities and worries to deal with compared to having your own home property. Usually, you won’t have to face a lot of problems, that is except for some unexpected happenings like damage to property or furnishings, broken appliances or fixtures, mould, pests, and things of the sort. Indeed, these things happen but they’re not that serious of a matter. With minimal effort, patience, and clear communication; apartment issues like these are easy and quick to resolve.
One problem that may pose difficulties in resolving these issues is when the contracting parties are unaware of each of their responsibilities in the contract of lease. When there are confusion and wrong expectations on whose responsibility it is to fix a certain problem, then major inconveniences and worsening of problems may arise. While pinpointing responsibilities and obligations may depend on the particular circumstance or situation, there are general and basic principles landlord and tenants can keep in mind when it comes to defining the lines of responsibilities and obligations on rental contracts.
What is the landlord responsible for?
It is but normal for a tenant to clarify and impose the obligations and responsibilities a landlord should fulfil. Primarily though, the responsibility for unit repairs rests on the landlord at all times. If something doesn’t work or if something breaks down, the landlord is to make the repair. If something is broken, the landlord is to make the replacement. The unit’s condition and amenities must function and remain in the same way as when you initially moved in. This is especially true in Canada, where the law explicitly states that the unit itself, including the appliances provided (stove, refrigerator, oven, etc.) that are offered and provided at the time you came in are your landlord’s responsibility to maintain and keep in operation.
So what are examples of matters that the landlord is responsible for maintenance and repair? Here are a few:
- a. Plumbing
- b. Electricity
- c. Heating
- d. Cooling (if provided initially and specifically offered)
- e. Facilities around the common areas of your apartment building
- f. Pest extermination (rats, bugs, roaches, etc.)
- g. Mould treatment
You would also do well to refer to the agreement for other mentioned amenities and responsibilities. Better yet, ensure that everything is in the contract for easy referral should future problems arise.
What is the tenant responsible for?
Major repairs and most repairs, replacements, and modifications are usually under the landlord’s management. Minor adjustments (tightening, replacing small, worn out parts) and other minor replacements are usually the tenant’s responsibility. Things like replacing bulbs and filters are for the tenant to see to. Things that one can easily do or cheaply replace are your responsibility as a tenant of the apartment. The moment you require a professional or some special assistance, then it’s time to notify your landlord.
Routinary cleaning and maintaining of the apartment is your responsibility as a tenant as well. And whatever damage you personally cause, you must personally fix or replace. As for mould in the apartment, a simple build-up is something you can and should promptly clean and disinfect. For persistent and wide spreading, you may alert the apartment owner. If you live in an apartment complex, remember that all exclusive portions of the building are yours to take care of. All common areas, of course, are in the landlord’s care.
Always read and understand the details of your contract of lease. Check for anything that may not be lawful. Clarify anything that may be unclear to you. And as always, abide by the terms of your agreement so you can be a great tenant any landlord would be happy to have. You never know when you might need to move residences and a good reference from a previous landlord is something that will greatly work in your favour.
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