The best way to find out if your landlord is legally obligated to make a repair in your apartment is to read up on the warranty of habitability in your state. The warranty of habitability is an implied provision in any residential lease, which means that your landlord is bound by it even if your lease says that they aren't.
Here are some examples of common repairs that your landlord is required to fix:
- Broken heating or plumbing
- Broken windows, doors or ceilings
- Locks on the windows and doors
- Holes in the floor, ceiling or walls that are letting pests in
Your landlord isn't legally required to fix any issues that are not mentioned in the warranty, but your lease might hold them responsible for more issues. Read your lease and see if it says that they also need to fix appliances like microwaves, washer dryers and dishwashers.
If you caused the damage in any way then it is not your landlord's responsibility to make the repair. This can get a bit tricky to parse out in certain situations. For example, if the pipes froze because you never turned on the water it this is your fault? Your best bet if you're dealing with a grey area is to see if your state has laws on the books that specific exactly what a tenant is responsible for. If that doesn't work then check with a landlord-tenant attorney.
It's within your rights as a tenant to leave your rental unit immediately if you can demonstrate that it's no longer habitable. If you want to stay then you can withhold rent until the issues are fixed or fix them your self and pay less rent.
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