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Who Is Responsible for Apartment Maintenance?

Generally speaking, landlords will be responsible for maintaining the exterior of the building, any communal spaces, and any complicated repairs--after all, no one wants an inexperienced tenant to try to fix their own gas line. As always, be sure to check your lease for any specifics regarding maintenance. With that said, let’s go over some other areas:


  • Plumbing, heating and air conditioning: The landlord must keep these systems in working order, as fixing any of them qualifies as a major repair. The residential lease agreement may assign responsibility for keeping pipes clear and replacing air filters as necessary to the tenant.


  • Sprinkler systems, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors: Such safety measures must be kept in working order by the landlord, but the lease may assign responsibility for replacement of batteries when needed to the tenant.


  • Exterior door and window locks: By law, the landlord also holds responsibility for these safety measures.


  • Management of known toxins: Federal law dictates that the landlord must warn the tenant of the presence of lead paint dust, asbestos and mold in the rental property and that the landlord must manage such toxins to ensure they do not pose a health danger to the tenant.


  • Appliances: If the rental lease agreement includes mention of an appliance, the landlord must keep it in working order. If the tenant causes damage to the appliance, however, the landlord may deduct the amount paid for repair from the security deposit.


  • Pest control: The landlord also must take responsibility for this area of maintenance, but the tenant must keep the property sanitary as to not invite infestation. If the tenant does not keep a clean home, the landlord may deduct the amount paid for extermination from the tenant's security deposit per the lease.


  • Landscaping: Who holds responsibility for maintenance of the rental property's lawn and other greenery could fall on the landlord or the tenant per the lease agreement. Ultimately, though, the landlord has responsibility for an unmaintained property if it violates local laws or homeowners' association rules. If the landlord assigned landscaping maintenance to the tenant in the lease, though, the landlord may pass on to the tenant any fines by deducting them from the security deposit.


  • Common areas:The landlord must keep all common areas of a multi-unit residential property safe and clean, providing appropriate trash receptacles and arranging for regular pickup. Elevators and other common-use systems also fall under a landlord's area of responsibility.