Rented housing is a great option for a young family that has not yet managed to save up enough money to buy their own, and taking out a mortgage and loans at present is too expensive and scary. It is also a good solution for one person who is not yet sure in which area, city or even country he wants to be in the next few years. Thanks to renting, you can look for new options at least every couple of months and not be tied to one place. Renting an apartment is also a great test drive for the area you like. Before you buy your apartment, you can live a little in rented housing and understand how convenient the location is here and whether you are satisfied with the infrastructure of this area.
However, even with such a seemingly perfect option, difficulties can arise. Time passes, tenants change, and the need for renovation in a rented apartment arises. There comes the very moment when life becomes no longer so comfortable and you really want to refresh the appearance of your home. Or breakdowns, floods and wiring short circuits happen. That’s when the questions arise, who should pay for these renovations? Of course, the perfect option would be when you have concluded a contract with the owner of the apartment and it clearly states who pays for the renovation of a rented apartment. If you do not have such a document, then let’s figure out together who is financially responsible for paying for a minor renovation or an overhaul of housing.
Obligations of the landlord
The list of obligations of the landlord does not include a very large number of items:
- To provide the residential premises provided for rent with everything necessary so that it is in a suitable condition for living.
If a faucet drips in the kitchen, the light in the hallway flashes or the door in the closet is loose, then according to the law, it is the owner of the apartment who must renovate, replace and tighten up even before the new tenants move in there. However, the fact that this rule exists does not guarantee that it is properly followed. The practice has shown more than once that tenants can notice such shortcomings only after moving into an apartment. And most often it is easier to fix it yourself than to wait for approval and action from the landlord. Of course, if we are already talking about the renovation after the flood, then we are not even talking about any independent work. Making repairs, in this case, is the absolute responsibility of the landlord.
- To guarantee the uninterrupted provision of utilities. This item requires special clarification since before concluding a contract, you must discuss with the owner who pays for what while you live in an apartment. As well as how exactly this process takes place: you make payments by yourself or give the amount for rent and additional services directly to the owner. In this case, you should carefully monitor the receipts and be sure that the landlord fairly pays for all services.
- Carrying out an overhaul. There may be contentious issues with the minor renovation, but as for the overhaul (unless otherwise specified in the contract), this type of renovation always remains the responsibility of the owner of the apartment.
Obligations of the tenant
There are much more items in the obligations of the tenant. They are obliged:
- To use the apartment strictly for its intended purpose (for living), without subleasing it (except as specified in the contract).
- To comply with the rules for the use of residential premises. If the contract states that it is forbidden to smoke or live with animals in the premises, this is a rule that cannot be violated.
- If the contract is not extended by agreement of the parties, then upon its expiration you are obliged to leave the premises on time.
- To allow the landlord to freely enter the apartment to check the condition of the property and the premises. Decide in advance with the owner that they are obliged to notify you of the upcoming visit, or immediately draw up a schedule of visits that will be convenient for the two of you.
- To make current (minor) renovations in the apartment. This item should be discussed separately and you should pay attention to it even before signing the contract. By law, minor renovations should be carried out by tenants, and not by the owner of the premises. If this course of events does not suit you and you do not want to invest in someone else’s premises, discuss this in advance!
- To pay bills on time.
Of course, these are far from all the items in the responsibilities of both parties, but only the most common ones faced by tenants and landlords. The rest you can always (and we insist on doing it!) specify in the contract.
Improvements made by the tenant
Of course, while living in a rented apartment, some interior items can not only become unfit for use but also be replaced by new ones by the residents. In such situations, we speak of “tenant improvements”. They can be divided into two categories:
- Separable. This could be, for example, replacing an old faucet in the kitchen with a good new one. In this case, if the tenant installed it for their own money, then when leaving, they can take it with them. It is worth remembering that then the old faucet must be returned to its rightful place because when you rented an apartment, it was part of the property that you accepted. In addition, of course, you can discuss with the owner the option when this replacement will be included in the rental price and then technically the landlord “buys” this new faucet from you.
- Inseparable. Here things are a little more complicated: in this case, we are talking about improvements that cannot be taken with you. This can be a minor renovation in the form of painting the walls, and then, leaving the apartment, you will no longer be able to take the paint with you. What should you do then, so as not just to give the owner of the apartment your work and money? A mandatory (!) condition is the written permission of any changes for which you spend your finances. In this case, the owner of the apartment must confirm in writing that they agree to the improvements that you plan to make in their apartment and include them in the rental price or pay for the checks you provide.
If you miss this moment and do not have any document confirming the consent of the owner, then when you move out of this apartment, the landlord may not only refuse to pay for your improvements but also demand compensation, considering such amateur activity as property damage.
Obligations of the tenant after the end of the lease
There are only two inviolable rules that the tenant must comply with after the end of the lease:
- If by mutual agreement the lease term has not been extended with the help of the contract, the tenant is obliged to vacate the premises on the specified day.
- The apartment must not have any defects caused by improper maintenance on the part of the tenant. Otherwise, they must be eliminated at his expense.
The most common problems in the apartment
Using a Google search engine, when you query “The most common problems in an apartment,” it is unlikely to give you a whole series of tables and lists. In 99% of cases, it will show articles about faulty electrical wiring. That is why now we will talk specifically about this problem.
Electrical problems can be divided into only three types:
- There is a contact where it should not be (short circuit)
- No contact where it should be (break)
- Exceeding the permissible load on the electrical system (a large number or too high power of devices in the electrical network, which is not designed for them).
If this is not an isolated case when some strange things start to happen to electricity, be sure to inform the landlord about it. The reason for such metamorphoses may not be at all in a harmless additionally turned on lamp but in more serious things. It is very likely that during the renovation of this apartment, the landlord saved a lot of professional work and will now have a lot of problems with the electrical system. That is why we always advise arranging utility lines only with the help of companies or individual craftsmen with a good reputation. Such mistakes and savings in the future can cost much more than the services of a good electrician.
Our company Euromed-Bud also provides the services of individual specialists and not just complex works. If there are already problems with the electrics in the apartment you rented, and the owner of the apartment refuses to take part in solving them, we advise you not to delay and call our manager. After all, if you don’t know the whole situation with electrical wiring, a fire can start when you sleep or are absent in the apartment. The losses from it will be many times higher than the figures in the estimate for fixing problems.
Breakdown during the lease, what to do?
First of all, don’t panic! First, we advise you to decide whether this failure was caused by natural wear or was the result of your actions. If we are talking about a mirror or a TV that suddenly broke because of your child’s football talent, then the answer is obvious: you need to compensate the landlord for their loss. Pay for a broken item or replace it with an equivalent one.
If we are talking about natural wear and tear (after 10 years of hard work, the washing machine stopped working), then there are two options. First: the owner of the apartment is a conscientious person and repairs/replaces it at their own expense. Second: you have to repair/replace it yourself or take it for examination to prove that the breakdown was not your fault. In this case, payment for the examination, unfortunately, will also fall on your shoulders, but the cost of repairing or buying a new washing machine will still be the only responsibility of the landlord.
Should the tenant paint the apartment?
If the issue concerns the minor renovation, it is hard to tell that the tenant is obliged to paint the apartment. Firstly, you may be satisfied with the appearance of the apartment in principle. And, secondly, you simply may not have enough money to do renovations in someone else’s premises.
It can only be unequivocally stated that when you leave, you are not obliged to paint the apartment if there are traces of only natural wear and tear. If you lived in this apartment with children who love to draw on the walls or with animals who like to cling to the wallpaper with sharp claws, the question is completely different. In this case, it will already be considered the elimination of damage, and not just the minor renovation upon departure. Therefore, each situation is completely individual. Ideally, even before moving into the apartment, you can carefully inspect every centimetre of housing, immediately fix all the shortcomings and damage, and then write down all the conditions in the contract to the smallest detail. But, unfortunately, this option is practically impossible, because most of the faults and flaws can only be noticed while living in this apartment.
That’s why in almost every item we write “indicate this in the contract”, “according to the contract”, etc., since the contract is the most important thing in controversial lease issues! Perhaps this is the main rule when you rent housing. If you are reading this article after the question “who pays for the renovation in a rented apartment?” has arisen, then problems have already appeared and the absence of this clause in the contract (or the absence of a contract at all) only complicates the situation.
However, troubles have already occurred and we still advise you not to engage in “self-treatment” in renovation matters. If you have problems with electrical wiring, plumbing, or simply with the old decoration of the premises, contact the specialists immediately. This will save you a lot of time, nerves and money, as everything will be done perfectly the first time, which means you won’t have to look for builders again to correct the mistakes of previous “masters”!