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Who Pays For Repairs?

Renting in Houston involves an arrangement where the needs of owners and apartment residents generally overlap: The apartment resident wants a clean and safe apartment and the rental property owner or apartment manager wants rent and someone who will care for the rental property. All in all, a good trade for everyone—until it comes time to make repairs.

So if the sink leaks, a light-bulb is out, or the oven burner is shot, who pays? The answer depends on several factors.

Is there a health and safety issue?
If yes, look to the rental property owner or apartment manager for repairs.

Is the item something within the scope of routine maintenance in furnished apartments in Houston, Texas?
That light bulb is the apartment resident's responsibility.

What does the apartment lease agreement say?
In the agreement between the apartment resident and the owner renting in Houston, there is typically a clause devoted to maintenance and repairs of the apartment. A common clause says that the rental property owner or apartment manager is only responsible for repairs above a certain dollar value. For instance, if it costs $75 to unclog the sink and the apartment resident is responsible for the first $50, the property owner or apartment manager would pay the remaining $25. The purpose of such clauses is to protect the property owner against an unrelenting stream of minor maintenance calls.

Is the rental property within a community that has rent control?
There are some 200 areas with rent control, and such rules often outline apartment resident and property owner or apartment manager maintenance responsibilities.

Can you do-it-yourself and save money?
Most rental property owner or apartment managers do not want apartment residents doing repair work. Why? A lack of insurance and bonding, concerns about quality, and requirements to meet local building codes.

Can you just hire a repair person?
Generally no. The rental property owner or apartment manager likely has certain contractors that he or she has used in the past to make repairs to apartment rental units that they prefer.

Can you hire a repair person on the property owner or apartment manager's approved list?
In some cases, yes. Speak with the property owner or apartment manager or manager first.

Can you deduct repair expenses from the rent?
This is a matter that must be worked out with the property owner or apartment manager in advance. Without a property owner or apartment manager's clear permission to deduct costs, apartment residents should pay rent in full and on time.

How big is the rental property?
In an apartment complex with many units, it's probable that a full-time repair crew is available. Such crews usually have experience with typical problems and likely maintain a supply of replacement parts on site.

Of course, if the apartment resident damages the apartment rental property through neglect or by harmful action, then the bill goes to the resident.

If something needs repair, contact the property owner or apartment manager and explain the problem. It benefits everyone to make repairs and perform routine maintenance to the apartment -- the apartment resident get a better standard of living and the owner gets a rental property which has greater value.

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