• Pay rent and utilities according to rental agreement.
• Maintain the premises in sanitary condition.
• Dispose of garbage properly.
• Pay for fumigation of infestations caused by the tenant (e.g. fleas from a
• Properly use and maintain all electrical, gas, heating, plumbing, and
other appliances provided by the landlord.
• Do not cause intentional or careless damage to the dwelling.
• Do not permit "waste" (substantial damage to the property) or "nuisance"
(substantial interference like a dog barking all night) to persist.
• Upon moving out, restore the premises to the same condition as when the
tenant moved in, aside from normal wear and tear.
• Follow all written agreements in the lease or any other signed documents.
• Maintain and repair the premises to comply with housing codes and
• Maintain structural components of the dwelling (roofs, floors, walls,
• Provide adequate locks and keys.
• Maintain electrical, plumbing, heating, and other appliances in good
• Keep the premises in reasonably weather-tight condition.
• Control infestations by insects, rodents, and other pests before the
tenant moves in. The landlord must continue to control infestations except
in a house (e.g., single family dwellings) or when the problem was caused by
• In apartments, studios, or any dwellings excluding houses, the landlord
must provide garbage cans and arrange for garbage removal.
• Keep common areas such as lobbies, stairways and halls reasonably clean
and free from hazards.
• Make repairs to keep the unit in the same condition as when the tenant
moved in, except for normal wear and tear.
• Provide smoke detectors, and ensure they work properly when a new tenant
moves in. (Tenants are responsible for maintaining detectors.)
A landlord is not responsible for the cost of correcting problems which are
caused by the tenant.
Landlord's Access to the Rental Property
The landlord must give the tenant at least a two-day notice of intent to
enter the property at reasonable times. The law states, however, that
tenants must not unreasonably refuse to allow the landlord to enter the
rental when the landlord has given at least one day's notice of intent to
enter at a specified time to show the dwelling to prospective or actual
buyers or tenants. Tenants also must not unreasonably refuse the landlord
access to repair, improve, or service the dwelling. In case of emergency,
the landlord can enter without notice.
When something in the property needs to be repaired, the tenant's first step
is to provide written (or otherwise agreed upon form of) notice of the
problem to the landlord or person who collects the rent. The notice must
include the address and apartment number of the rental and a description of
the problem. If possible, it's a good idea to deliver the notice personally.
After giving notice, the tenant must wait the required time for the landlord
to begin making repairs. Those allowable waiting times are:
• 24 hours for no hot or cold water, heat, or electricity, or for a
condition that is imminently hazardous to life
• 72 hours for repair of refrigerator, range, and oven, or a major plumbing
fixture supplied by the landlord
• 10 days for all other repairs
If repairs are not started within the allowable time, and you are paid up in
rent and utilities, you may exercise the following options:
• Move out. After waiting the required time, the law allows tenants to give
written notice to the landlord and move out immediately. Tenants are
entitled to a prorated refund of their rent, as well as the deposits they
would normally receive.
• Litigation or arbitration. A tenant can hire an attorney and go to court
to force the landlord to make repairs, or, if the landlord agrees, the
dispute can be decided by an arbitration service. Arbitration is usually
less costly and quicker than going to court.
• Hire someone to make the repairs. In many cases, the tenant can have the
work done and then deduct the cost from the rent. Before the work is done,
the tenant must submit an estimate to the landlord. To speed up the repair
process, the estimate can be given to the landlord along with the original
notice of the problem. The total cost of the repairs that may be deducted
from the rent cannot exceed the amount of one month's rent.
Despite what you may hear from trusted and well-meaning advisers, you may
not withhold your rent payments until the landlord makes repairs. You can be
evicted for doing this. If you are having problems, contact our office.
When you want to move out of a rental unit, it is important to give
appropriate notice to your landlord. In most cases it is not necessary to
provide written notice if you are moving out at the expiration of a lease,
though you should check your rental agreement to determine what, if any,
kind of formal notice must be given.
If you leave before a lease expires, you are responsible for paying the rent
for the remainder of the lease. However, the landlord must make an effort to
re-rent the unit at a reasonable price. If this is not done, the tenant may
not be liable for rent beyond a reasonable period of time.
If you stay beyond the expiration of the lease, and the landlord accepts the
next month's rent, then you are assumed to be renting under a month-to-month
agreement. Written notice at least 20 days before the end of the rental
agreement is required to move out.