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Is a Leaky Toilet the Landlords Responsibility?

What about the broken kitchen cabinet door, cracked hallway tile or any other minor repair?  When is it the tenants responsibility and when does it fall on the owner?  At times this could become confusing and could lead to problems between landlords and tenants.  The important thing to keep in mind if there is a dispute is to keep communication open and clear. 

So whose responsibility is it?  The short answer is; it depends.  Is there a lease in place?  If so, is it mentioned?  It’s not practical to list every possible scenario in the lease or maybe there isn’t a lease in place, then what? 

Landlords in Miami Florida have a responsibility to maintain applicable building and housing codes to include the maintaining of windows, roofs, walls and other structural components to name a few.  This doesn’t mean the cost automatically falls on the landlord if there’s negligence on the tenant’s part.  But if little Billy Tenant breaks a window and the landlord is notified and completely ignores it, he or she may be held liable if an intruder came in through the unsecured window for example. 

If something isn’t expressly agreed upon beforehand, a good way to look at it is like buying and maintaining a car.  In a traditional car purchase (no fancy BMW all-inclusive maintenance program for this analogy) one may expect to pay for oil and air filter changes, tires, brakes and burned out head lights.  One can also expect the manufacturer to pick up the tab (at least for the first few years) for any defects or mechanical failures.  In many ways this same logic applies to rental property.  In the same way one wouldn’t expect the manufacture to cover the cost of replacing a windshield that was broken by the neighbor’s kids’ fastball or the replacement of bald tires, it’s very likely basic maintenance and repairs like replacing the flapper in a toilet, falls on the tenant.  If a faulty supply line is the cause of the leak and at no fault of the tenant, then the landlord is probably responsible for the repairs. 

The best way to avoid any confusion about who’s responsible is to come to an agreement beforehand and put it in writing.  If not, some common sense and an open mind will go a long way in resolving what could quickly become an unpleasant and expensive dispute. 

Have questions about your Miami rental property?  Give us a call at 1.855.RPM.DADE to find out how the nationwide leader in residential rental property can help you. 



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