Who pays for repairs in a rental property?

Many tenants believe that landlords are responsible for paying the cost of all repairs, but tenants must foot the bill in some instances. Paragraph 18D(2) of the TAR Residential Lease specifies the circumstances where the tenant is responsible for the cost of repairs.

  • When the tenant causes the condition
    If a ceiling fan stops working under normal use, the landlord must pay to fix it. However, if the fan was spinning just fine until the tenant threw a football that knocked off a fan blade, the tenant must pay.
  • When a tenant’s guest causes the condition
    Suppose a tenant’s guest mistakenly shifts his vehicle into drive rather than reverse and plows into the front of the house. It doesn’t matter that the tenant wasn’t the person driving; the tenant still has to pay for the repair.
  • Damage to doors, windows, and screens (and damage caused by leaving them open)
    Whether a door, window, or screen is damaged by a tenant, the tenant’s guest, a tree, a bird, a criminal, or any other cause, the lease specifies that repairs are the responsibility of the tenant. Tenants must also pay for any damage caused by leaving doors or windows open.
  • Certain plumbing problems
    Tenants must pay for plumbing repairs due to blocked drains if the stoppage was caused by “foreign or improper objects in the lines that exclusively serve the property.”

Paragraph 18D(2)e also specifies that landlords are not required to pay for cosmetic repairs that do not affect the use of the item. Finally, the paragraph provides a blank to list additional items the landlord wants to specify as the responsibility of the tenant if those items require repairs.

About Texas Association of REALTORS®

The voice for Texas real estate
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