Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

What responsibilities does a landlord have toward tenants?

Landlords and tenants both have their own set of responsibilities when they enter into a leasing contract. Landlords specifically are required to keep the rental property in a habitable condition. Additionally, if the landlord wants to enter the property, he or she must inform the tenant with a reasonable amount of notice. The only time a landlord can enter a property without notice is if there is an emergency.

There are a number of problems a tenant could have that a landlord should address as quickly as possible. For example, if it's winter and the heater fails, it isn't unreasonable to expect a repair or other solution within 24 hours. However, if that happens in the summer, then waiting 48 hours or longer might not be a big deal.

When a tenant first moves into a property, it's important that the landlord has made the property habitable. That means that it is up to code and has appropriate safety features, like fire detectors, on the property.

If a landlord fails to make repairs in a timely manner, there are consequences. For instance, a tenant might opt to withhold rent until the repairs are made. It's a good idea for tenants who do this to keep the money aside in escrow, so that it can be released to the landlord once the repairs are made. A tenant might also contact the local building or housing authorities if the home is not up to code.

In most cases, talking to a landlord can resolve many issues. Whether you're a landlord or a tenant, legal action is not typically a first step, but it can help you if you've tried all other amicable options.

Source: FindLaw, "Landlords' Duties Regarding Repairs, Maintenance, and to Provide Notice to Tenants for Entry," accessed March 03, 2017

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