House Repairs: How Can Landlords Convince Tenants to Pay for Repairs?

Property Management Blog

Repairing the house is the responsibility of the landlord. It’s important for the proper maintenance of the rental property. However, it’s not a business strategy or the real estate law that making repairs is the responsibility of landlords only. Depending on the situation, a renter might be responsible to pay the repairing cost and landlords can legally force them to do so. Here we are discussing the circumstances when tenants will be responsible for the damage and when you can make them pay for repairs.

When damage coverage is the responsibility of tenants 

Damage is done by the tenant or his guests

Wear and tear are common in every house and landlords have a budget for that. However, sometimes tenants misuse an appliance and reduce its lifespan. In some cases, guests or tenants can mishandle appliances and cause damage. In such situations, it is the responsibility of the tenant to repair the damage. Scratches on floors, clogged drains, and broken toilets are examples of these damages. They will repair the damage and will pay the full rent as well.  

When a tenant does not report the issue in time

The tenant has to report the problem to the landlord as soon as he notices something wrong. It is a clause in tenant laws in which he signs the agreement. For instance, if he notices a mold infestation in the basement of the house or the water heater is causing problems, he has to inform the landlord immediately. If he ignores the problem, it will become a serious issue with time. The mold can spread to the walls and cause serious damage to furniture and other things as well. Similarly, a water heater can stop working or will need a replacement if not repaired in time. In such situations, damage can be avoided just by taking action in time. However, if the tenant does not inform the landlord well in time, he will be responsible to pay for the damage. But landlords should also do periodic inspections to avoid such damages. 

Misuse of property

According to laws landlords have the power to determine the activities they allow on the premises and those which are not allowed on their property. Pet policy and smoking policy are examples of these activities. These rules and regulations are written in the agreement and a tenant agrees to follow these rules before he enters the property. However, some renters do not abide by these rules and violate them. If there is property damage due to a violation of these rules, renters have to pay for the damage. The same rules can be applied to poor maintenance. For instance, if the walls are very dirty and there is a smell in the furniture, the landlord can ask the tenant to pay for the maintenance. 

Safety Equipment maintenance

The Safety of the house is the responsibility of the landlords. They should conduct safety tests and maintain safety equipment properly. Timely up-gradation is also very important. However, when tenants move in, maintenance of equipment is his responsibility. They have to maintain dead batteries and burnt out bulbs of security equipment. 

What are the laws about repair and deduction?

It is very important to understand and know the laws related to deduction, for landlords and for tenants. According to law, a tenant can deduct the cost of necessary repairs from the rent he pays to the landlord. However, the law is applicable if landlords ignore significant repair needs, which causes problems for tenants. But this law does not apply to every problem. The law applies to those problems only that are the violation of those rights that were promised at the time of lease. They can deduct money for plumbing, heating, and electricity problems of immediate nature. But the tenant cannot use more money than his monthly rent. 

Payment methods that landlords can use

  • Deduction from the security deposit

Security deposit is charged from tenants with the first month of rent. The security deposit is almost equal to the monthly rent. The purpose of the security deposit is to cover the damage, or missed rent, depending on the situation. For instance, if a pipe bursts due to negligence of the tenant, the landlord can deduct the price from the security deposit. However, he has to make a report and keep the receipts on record. This is proof, in case of dispute with a tenant. 

  • Send bill directly

Sometimes the cost of damage is more than the security deposit. In situations like this, the landlord can send the bill directly to the renter. Renter has to pay the cost, but usually rental property owners do not trust them for the maintenance. Most landlords manage and supervise maintenance themselves and send the bill to the tenant. 

  • Insurance of renter

Another way to charge the tenant is through his insurance. If the tenant has coverage, his insurance company will pay for the loss. This solution is more useful if there is significant damage to the property. For instance, if the tenant left the tap running and the apartment gets flooded, damage can be extensive. You can file an insurance claim and reduce your burden. Tenants will also get benefits in this situation. 

  • Court claims

If the tenant is not ready to pay damage with any of the above-mentioned methods. The last solution is to take him to court. However, you need to hire a professional lawyer to get it in your favor. If you win the case, the tenant has to compensate for repairs. However, this is the last option for landlords, as no one wants to pay a lawyer’s fee.


We started this article with the question of how landlords can convince tenants to pay the money for repairs. Making tenants aware of their responsibility is very difficult, but it’s important to avoid unnecessary Expenses. So, it’s important to understand that the renter is responsible when he causes the damage, fails to report the problem in time and violates the rules. In this situation, you can either deduct the repair cost from his security deposit or send him the bill. Insurance of tenants can also help in this situation. The last solution is to file a case in court, but it can take some time. 

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty.

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