If you have been living in a rental home for 8 years, is the homeowner obligated to get new carpet and/or paint?

I have paid rent on time always at $1200 per month, which means that I have paid off this home for the owner. However, I cannot get past the property management company to get this place painted and carpeted. I hate to have to move but I am so sick of the paint and carpet and am not willing to do it since I do not own. I have been on a month-to-month for the last year because I don’t want to sign lease. Also, every summer the air conditioner has broken down and I have to get a hotel room for about a week each time; I have never been reimbursed.

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, a landlord is under no obligation to repaint or recarpet, unless and until there is some condition actually affecting habitability (for example, the carpet has mold; or the paint is chipping, and the tenant has small children who might eat the chips). It doesn't matter how "tired" or old the paint or carpeting is, if there is no impairment of habitability, there is no requirement to replace it.

As to the bad A/C issue: if it  is so hot that your apartment is not merely unconfortable, but not safely inhabitable (so hot as to pose a health risk) and the landlord has not corrected the issue despite notice of it, you could potentially hold him liable for your hotel costs or for a rent abatement for the time each summer the premises are not habitable. (If he won't provide this voluntarily, you would need to sue.) However, if  the apartment is habitable but merely unpleasant for that week, you would not have a cause of action.


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