Is it the landlord’s responsibility to take care of all the electrical and plumbing issues in your rental house?

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Is it the landlord’s responsibility to take care of all the electrical and plumbing issues in your rental house?

Asked on April 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  Electrical and plumbing problems would be health and safety issues and failure of the landlord to make the necessary repairs within a reasonable time after being notified by the tenant would constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  If the electrical and plumbing problems are minor; such as a light bulb is out or the toilet is plugged up or a faucet is dripping, etc., those types of minor problems do NOT breach the implied warranty of habitability. 

When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability and the landlord has not responded within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs (call a plumber, electrician, etc.) and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.  Another alternative is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  It would also be advisable to contact the local housing code inspector who can take enforcement action against the landlord for code violations.


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