Who is Responsible for Damage to a Rental?
You moved into a rental and kicked it off nicely with your landlord. Things are going well until the property gets damaged by mold or water.
There are several situations that would mean different things for a landlord and the tenants. It would decide who would have to pay for fixing damages. Here are a few of these situations;
• Urgent/Emergency repairs:
From time to time, emergency repairs are needed due to accidental damages. These repairs could include a gas leak or electrical issue. In most countries around the world, this type of repair is typically the landlord’s responsibility.
• Normal routine repairs:
Facing small issues like a faucet breaking? These are broadly referred to as non-urgent repairs. Typically, the landlord would be expected to repair this since the cause would be a lack of maintenance on their part. Routine checks by the landlord would help to avoid this extra cost of repairs from new problems emerging.
Mold may show up in or on walls and ceilings or other areas. Who bears responsibility depends on the source of the mold. For example, when mold appears due to a leak in the roof, the landlord would be responsible. But, if the mold shows up on walls due to a humidifier running overtime, the renter would be responsible. For landlords, regular maintenance and checks would go a long way to catching damage before it gets out of hand.
In general, lightbulbs are left to the tenant to be replaced. An exception would be in the shared spaces of hallways and outside apartment buildings. Also, if buying or replacing an unusual bulb or light fixture requires some specialized knowledge, it would the landlord’s job to take care of it.
• Repair of Gutter and Drainage system:
Repair and maintenance of gutters is normally the landlord‘s responsibility. This changes if the tenant causes the block. Here, the tenant would be deemed fully responsible for the restoration of the gutters and the drain and any corresponding water damage to property.
• The pool:
Maintenance of a pool generally belongs to the landlord including routine cleaning and damage control. An exception might be if you are the only tenant on the property with the pool. In any case, if a tenant sees any damage happening to the pool or because of a leak, it should be reported right away.
• Smoke alarms:
Smoke alarms that are installed inside the private apartment areas must be working at the time a tenant moves in. Renters should test them immediately to make sure they are in working order. After moving in, it is the renters’ responsibility to make sure the batteries are fresh and in working order.
While all these things are the norm in most places, it is important to note that the final say comes from the terms and conditions outlined in the rental agreement and according to the local and federal laws.
Living in a rental property can be fun at times. Other times, it can be tough. For landlords, having someone stay in your property is equally hard. Patience and understanding on both parts are needed if you want to get along and avoid disputes.