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Posted by Rayan Treehugger on September 25, 2015
Who pays for repairs in a rented property?

Whenever signing a contract of any kind, you should always pay attention to all the details, all the clauses and especially any small print.

When renting a property it is easy to just skim over the first few paragraphs of the contract and sign on the dotted line as quickly as possible in the excitement of wanting to get straight into your new home.

More often than not, other than how much rent you have to pay each month and how long the contract is for, probably not much else has sunk in.

Unless you’re used to moving around from one place to another, you may not be familiar with the law on who is legally obliged to carry out any repairs, improvements or enhancements to the property, or whether you are allowed to carry out any at all.

Generally, it is up to the property owner and landlord to fix anything that needs fixing in order for the property to be fit to live in.

However, one must distinguish between conservation work and home improvements. Conservation work would entail all the necessary repairs that must be carried out so that the property continues in a habitable condition, while improvements would be those tasks that are not strictly necessary to be able to live in the property, but which would improve the habitability of it. These could be jobs that the whole community have agreed to carry out such as changing the water pipes or painting the front of the building.

Article 21 of the Urban Rental Law states that the property owner is obliged to carry out all the repairs necessary to ensure that the home is liveable. For example, if the washing machine plumbing system breaks down, the owner must repair it so that the tenant can carry on using the machine as he usually did before. However, if you spot a clause in the contract that says if a repair were to be carried out, the rent would subsequently be increased, this should not be adhered to and is not allowed.

Nevertheless, if the tubing has broken or stopped working because the tenant hasn’t looked after the washing machine or has misused it, then the owner is exempt of the responsibility of repairing it, and it should be the tenant that does so.

On the other hand, with regards to conservation work, the law states that this work should be carried out once the contract ends. However, if the work is urgent and has to be done before the end of the contract, the tenant must allow it to be completed, even if it means that he is put out, restricted or disturbed in any way.

The same goes for any improvements required to improve the habitability of the property. The owner must give the tenant 3 months’ notice if he can’t wait until the contract finishes, and outline what type of work will be carried out, when it will start, finish, how long it will take.

From receiving notification of these works, the tenant has one month to withdraw from the contract if carrying out the works will seriously affect the way he is living. At the same time, he will be within his rights to ask for a reduction in the rent due while the work is being carried out in line with how much of the property he will not be able to use while it is going on.

If, however, the tenant wants to improve the property in any way, he will not be permitted to do so without written consent from the owner if the work will modify the shape or layout of the property. If he did go ahead without permission, the landlord could order the tenant to return the property to its original state. For example, if the tenant painted the whole property and laid down a parquet flooring, at the end of the contract the owner could ask him to return the property to how it was before. And, despite the fact that this would be an obvious improvement to the property, if the owner decided to leave it in the new state, he would not be obliged to compensate the tenant for this work when it was time for him to vacate the property.

Source: www.idealista.com


  • property
  • rental agreement
  • home repairs
  • property conservation
  • home improvements


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