Right To Minor Repairs as a Tenant

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Right To Minor Repairs as a Tenant

Landlords must keep your rental unit in a livable condition under the implied warranty of habitability, but, this warranty will not cover many other problems you may experience with your rental unit.  For example, a leaky faucet or unsightly marks on a wall are not problems that need to be fixed in order for you to live in the apartment.  Also, if the damage is your fault, you will likely have to pay for the repairs.

Do I Have any Right to Minor Repairs?

Whether or not your landlord will be required to perform minor repairs will depend on a number of factors.  One is the nature of the problem.  Your landlord usually will not be required to perform purely cosmetic repairs, such as replacing a worn carpet.  But, if the carpet has large holes in it that you could trip on, your landlord likely will have to replace it.  Other factors that bear on whether your landlord must perform the repair include: 

How Do I Enforce My Right to Make Minor Repairs?

If your unit is uninhabitable, you are allowed to withhold rent, but if you attempted to do this for minor repairs you could be evicted.  Because of this, it is harder to enforce your right to minor repairs.  Below are some steps you can take that will increase the odds that your landlord will perform the repairs: 

I'm Having Trouble with Getting My Landlord to Perform Repairs, Do I Need a Lawyer?

While you are not generally allowed to have a lawyer in small claims court, an experienced real estate lawyer can help you determine whether your landlord had a duty to repair the problem(s) in your unit.  A lawyer with experience in real estate law can also help you file your small claims case.

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Last Modified: 10-24-2013 03:29 PM PDT

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