Repair and Renovation Works : What are the Landlord’s Obligations?

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In the world of real property lease, many litigations are linked to a poor knowledge of the rights and duties of each party. To avoid entering a negative dynamic, in which your tenant could begrudge you your negligence, find out about your obligations! For example, though it is your tenant’s duty to take on the minor repairs that are part of everyday life, larger works are most of the time under your responsibility: explanations.

Overview of The Owner’s Rights and Duties

In the context of a lease, the lessee must of course respect deadlines and pay his rent in due time. But he also agrees to assume the daily maintenance of the property and to carry out some minor repairs: locks, replacement of bulbs, maintenance of the boiler with an authorized provider, etc. Upon termination of the lease, the rented place must be returned in good condition, without damage though the normal wear and tear of the equipment is acceptable (the longer the tenant remains in the place, the more obsolescence is taken into account).

As for the owner, he has to give the keys to a healthy, clean and decent home. In concrete terms, the place should present no risk for the safety or health of the lessee, otherwise, it is necessary to carry out upgrading works before renting. Regarding maintenance, larger works are usually the owners responsibility. These are repairs not due to negligence on the part of the tenant, but arise from normal wear and tear or result from an incident or a defective equipment.

Who Must Pay for Repairs in Case of a Lease?

Only “minor repairs” are the responsibility of the tenant. In the event of litigation, the reference is the legislation which makes it possible to determine which kind of works fall into this category. In general, it has to do with small interventions, not requiring the services of a craftsman and not involving significant expenses. These “maintenance” works remain within the reach of all: the tenant can easily perform them himself.

Only minor repairs are the responsibility of the tenant. 


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On the other hand, when it is necessary to resort to a craftsman, most of the invoices will be supported by the owner. The latter must pay for all repairs and refurbishments related to structural works. Moreover, within the house or the apartment, he has to manage himself all the situations linked to disrepair, building faults, bad weather or defects.

Obviously, if major repairs become necessary as a result of poor maintenance, the tenant’s liability is incurred, and the landlord may refuse to pay the costs. If the disagreement cannot be settled amicably, resorting to a judicial procedure may become necessary, especially for the most expensive works.

If major repairs become necessary as a result of poor maintenance, the tenant’s liability is incurred, and the landlord may refuse to pay the costs. 

The law of September 21, 2006, on the leases for residential use and amending some items of the Civil Code, scrupulously details the rights and duties of the owner. It is mainly on this text that the magistrates base themselves to rule on this type of litigation.

How to Avoid Litigations between Tenants and Landlords?

If the relationship between a tenant and his landlord may become strain, it is strongly recommended to resort to the services of a real estate agency. The agency can act on behalf the owner to ensure all the rental management tasks. When it is commissioned for this purpose, the agency becomes the privileged interlocutor of the tenant for any issue he might have. On his side, the owner remains systematically informed of the current issues, and naturally keeps the last word on the decisions to be taken concerning any kind of works.

Resorting to the services of a real estate agency makes it easier to avoid complex issues linked to repair works and their financing: the professionals, often confronted with these type of situations, know how to determine who has to pay what in each specific case.


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