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What repairs are landlords required to make?

Both landlords and tenants have certain obligations to the other party in a landlord-tenant relationship. One of a landlord's essential obligations is to repair the premises when needed. A landlord is not required to make all repairs, however, so it can be helpful for both landlords and tenants to be aware of repairs that may be required pursuant to landlord obligations.

At the most basic level, a New York City tenant has the right to live in a rental property that is habitable. An acceptable level of habitability includes premises that have safe and working electrical, plumbing and heating systems, as well as access to hot and cold water. The roof must not be leaking and the structure must be sound. Therefore, if there are any deficiencies in these systems that disallows them from working properly thena landlord must make necessary repairs to comply with basic standards of habitability.

It is important, though, for tenants to be aware that landlords are not necessarily required to fix all manner of potential problems that may arise in a rental property. For example, a landlord may not have to repair a window screen that is torn, a dripping faucet or a running toilet, despite the frustration that such an issue may cause for a tenant. However, if a rental agreement specifies that a landlord is required to fix these types of problems, then that landlord will be legally required to do so. Furthermore, a landlord's promise to make a repair may be sufficient to require him or her to make the promised repair.

Tenants may become frustrated if repairs to a rental property are needed and are not completed in a timely fashion. A tenant who is involved in a dispute with his or her landlord regarding repairs may wish to consult with an attorney to discuss his or her legal rights and options.

Source: FindLaw, "A Tenant's Rights to Landlord Repairs," accessed Sept. 2, 2016

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