Landlords: What Am I Responsible For?

May 30, 2018 1 min read

If you’re a landlord, or considering becoming one, here’s a quick breakdown of the things you’re responsible for, versus your tenants.

As a landlord, one of your key duties is to provide a “habitable” environment for your tenants. This means that the home you rent to them must be safe to live in and be compliant with local, state and federal codes.

Who’s Responsible?

This is where it can get tricky. When something breaks, who is responsible for fixing or replacing it? Typically, as a landlord, your responsibility is for any maintenance that keeps the rental unit livable. But your tenants have responsibilities as well, which primarily include not damaging the property. Here’s a quick summary of common issues, and who’s responsible for what.

Light Bulbs:

Landlord: For common spaces like a hallway or stair case, it would typically be the landlord’s responsibility to cover the replacement.

Tenant: If the light bulbs are located inside the apartment or house, generally the tenant is responsible for replacing the light bulbs.


Landlord: If the lease agreement mentions appliances (like a dishwasher or washer and dryer), then the landlord has to keep them in working order.

Tenant: If the appliance is damaged by the tenant, the tenant will be on the hook for repairs — either directly, or it can come out of their security deposit.


Landlord: If pests are a problem, this typically falls under a landlord’s duties.

Tenant: However, if the pests are a result of the tenant not keeping their living space clean, extermination costs could also result in a deduction from their security deposit.

Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning

Landlord: It’s the landlord’s job to keep these systems running (per the “habitable” environment rule).

Tenant: Tenants have a duty to use these items properly. The owner has to fix these systems if they break down, but if a tenant is negligent (think a toy being flushed down the toilet), then they could be held responsible.


Landlord: If your property has lead paint, asbestos or mold, this is serious stuff! You have to remove any such toxins in a way that complies with federal law.

Tenant: Once the area is treated, tenants should help maintain that treatment. For example, if an area has been treated for mold, they should follow best practices for keeping the area moisture-free.

Coverage Counts

Protecting your belongings or your investment should always be top of mind. Whether you own a property or are renting one, your local Farm Bureau agent can help ensure that you have the coverage you need, when you need it. To learn more, contact an agent today!




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