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Landlords must make necessary repairs

Your lease does not have to come right out and say that the landlord has to make repairs to a property. It is an implied responsibility. When renting a space to a tenant, the landlord has an obligation to make sure that living space is habitable at all times.

Obviously, that's a bit of an open-ended definition, but it generally just means that a reasonable person would determine that the space was safe and in good condition. They landlord may need to:

  • Fix leaks in the roof
  • Make sure that the building is structurally sound
  • Ensure that all systems are up to code
  • Fix leaking pipes
  • Make sure that the tenant has hot and cold water
  • Keep the electrical systems in safe condition
  • Make sure the tenant has heat in the winter
  • Remove pest infestations

Naturally, the landlord does not have to do these things on their own, but they need to take steps to hire professionals to do so. They need to respond promptly when the tenant brings an issue to their attention.

The best way to think of it is this: If the landlord lived in that space, would they make the repairs? If they would, then they cannot withhold those repairs from a tenant. This is especially true when the neglect could put the tenant in danger -- when there are exposed electrical wires, for instance, or structual issues that could lead to a collapse.

Landlord and tenant issues can get complicated. They may not always agree on who has to take action. This is when it is very important to understand your legal options.

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Spragins, Barnett & Cobb, PLC
312 East Lafayette
Jackson, TN 38301

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