Landlords are generally required by law to keep a rented property at a certain level of habitability with regard to plumbing, electricity, structural integrity and other types of maintenance. Even the most modern houses will experience some sort of decay over time. Hence, these issues should be dealt with properly if they drastically reduce the standard of living in that property to one that is unhealthy or unsafe.
When renting a property, landlords should always have a written and signed lease agreement or rental contract in place. Also, they should carefully consider the terms and conditions of the lease agreement they provide to the tenant. The lease details what situations and circumstances fall under the purview of the landlord’s responsibilities and what must be managed or maintained by the tenant. It should also clearly spell out the limits to any obligations.
One of the key things a landlord should include in a written lease agreement is a provision for disrepair claims. Disrepair claims generally arise when a tenant feels as though the landlord has not properly or promptly taken care of any issues that degrade the standard the rental property held at the time the tenant took up occupancy.
There is an implied condition for fitness of habitability that rental properties must adhere to. However, that does not mean the landlord is responsible for fixing, upgrading, or replacing something every time a tenant feels like there is an issue with the property that negatively affects their “standard of living.”
Disrepair claim clauses protect the landlord from potentially frivolous litigation by ensuring that the tenant is made aware of exactly what the landlord’s obligations are, what repairs may be required or disallowed by law and what protections are provided.
If you need help drafting a lease agreement that provides you with the protections you need as a landlord, or if you want to make sure your lease, including any disrepair claim clauses, conforms to current real estate law, contact an attorney today for the most accurate assistance.