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Landlord or Tenant? How to Divide Maintenance Responsibilities

While laws and lease agreements exist to regulate landlord and tenant behavior, common sense and decency also go a long way in promoting a good, mutually beneficial relationship.
Jaanu Surendran
March 1, 2022
3 min read
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Any landlord would agree that their biggest challenge is finding a good tenant - someone who would follow the terms of the lease agreement and pay rent on time. On the other hand, tenants also prefer to engage with a landlord who is understanding and respectful of their needs. The ideal landlord-tenant relationship is one that will mutually benefit both parties.

An important factor linked to building this relationship is maintenance responsibilities. These have to be outlined clearly and carefully in the lease agreement, so there is no cause for dispute later on. The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) have set out some legal obligations that landlords and tenants have towards maintenance of a property. Read on to know what they are.

Landlord responsibilities

  • Plumbing, heating and air conditioning
  • Appliances (washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, etc)
  • Carpets
  • Walls, roofs, ceilings
  • Windows, doors, locks, lighting
  • Garages, laundry rooms, patios, walkways or pools
  • Safety features - smoke detectors, fire alarms
  • Pest control precautions

Everything a landlord provides along with their property is supposed to be in good working condition. It is the landlord’s duty to make sure that all these amenities and features are functioning well, and to replace them if they aren’t. If anything stops working or works with reduced efficiency, the tenant must immediately inform the landlord to repair or replace as necessary.

This rule only applies to normal wear and tear that comes with regular usage. If a tenant is found to have been directly responsible for any damage, the cost incurred in repairing or replacing can be deducted from their security deposit. It is also worth noting that a landlord is not required to get a newer model with more features if an appliance breaks down. For example, to replace a broken refrigerator a landlord can choose to get another used refrigerator that’s functioning adequately.

Tenant responsibilities

  • Maintain hygiene - A tenant is responsible for keeping the property clean up to a normal standard of hygiene. If a tenant’s level of untidiness attracts pests or other hazards, the landlord is not liable to pay for the damage incurred. The costs will be charged to the tenant or deducted from their deposit.
  • Causing direct damage - A tenant is responsible for any damage to the property that is not due to normal wear and tear. This applies even if the tenant didn’t cause the damage on purpose, and it happened because they weren’t careful enough. They are also responsible if this damage was caused by a guest visiting them, or by someone else living in their unit.

Good ethical practices

  • The tenant should always pay full rent on time, even if they feel their landlord’s maintenance is poor or a repair hasn’t been done.
  • The tenant should always inform the landlord of a problem in writing. This could be in the form of a work order or maintenance request. They should always keep a copy of this request with them.
  • A landlord should not withhold ‘vital services’ like hot/cold water, fuel, electricity, gas, etc even if rent is overdue or a tenant has damaged their property.
  • Before visiting a property for repair or inspection a landlord should always give notice to the tenant at least 24 hours prior, stating the date, reason, and time of entry.

While laws and lease agreements exist to regulate landlord and tenant behavior, common sense and decency also go a long way in promoting a good, mutually beneficial relationship. Tenantcube is happy to help you as a landlord by maintaining this important relationship on your behalf. Our expert team will handle all tenant communications, maintenance requests, and complaints for a very affordable plan. Check out our coordination services, and let us know if you’d like to know more about us.

What our lawyers want you to know

This article offers general information only, is current as of the date of publication, and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Tenantcube Inc. or its affiliates.

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Jaanu Surendran
March 1, 2022
3 min read
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