As a tenant, one of the primary advantages you have over those who own their own property is your landlord’s responsibilities to timely and appropriate maintenance and repair of your space. However, as many tenants can attest, the principle of a landlord-tenant relationship and the reality of the situation are often far different. Each lease has its own terms which must be consulted, but in general, there are number of steps you can take if your landlord is not abiding by his or her obligations to repair or maintain your space appropriately.
When it comes to commercial leases, these can be particularly tricky, so it is best to consult with an experienced attorney before taking any direct action. You may be able to compel your landlord to act by merely making it clear that you have reviewed the lease and understand both your rights and his or her responsibilities to the space. Often, a little knowledge and clear expression of that knowledge is enough to motivate a sluggish landlord.
If this fails to get the ball rolling, you may consider withholding your rent, either partially or entirely, until the matter is resolved. No matter what course of action you choose, it is crucial that you do not break any laws while doing so, to minimize leverage that the landlord may have to retaliate or terminate your lease. As always, it is important to document each step in the process in case the matter must be litigated.
It is always difficult to navigate situations like these, but the guidance of an experienced attorney can help clear the path and direct you to effective resolutions. With appropriate legal counsel, you can understand the details of your lease and identify the best path forward for getting the most out of your landlord-tenant relationship.
Source: Findlaw, “What is Material Noncompliance?,” accessed March 10, 2017