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Who pays for damage to a rented house?

Real estate and sales law
Who pays for damage to a rented house?

In the Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos, one of the articles that gives more play when it comes to its application is article 21, which describes the obligations of the property and the tenant when carrying out conservation and maintenance works.

According to this article, maintenance and repairs are the landlord's responsibility, because he has the obligation to maintain the habitability of the property. Maintenance work and repairs are the tenant's responsibility due to the ordinary use of the elements that form part of the rented property, the misuse of the installations or what the article specifies as small repairs. With this description, there may be doubts as to what is conservation and what is maintenance, so we are going to clarify who pays for each element.

What does the owner have to pay for?

According to the Supreme Court, necessary or conservation repairs are those that are indispensable to maintain the property in use and those imposed by the competent authority. Here are some examples: the renovation or replacement of water and drainage installations; gas and electricity installations; the elimination of leaks; the repair of the roof to avoid leaks; and the necessary repairs to doors and windows so that the property is closed and the safety of the people who are housed in it is facilitated.

The repairs necessary for the habitability of the property are obligatory for the landlord as long as the cause is not caused by misuse by the tenant, who will have to prove that he was not responsible. It can also happen that the damage to the property is of a major nature, which implies reconstruction, leading to the termination of the rental contract.

On the other hand, if the damage is caused by a common element of the Community of Owners, the owner will have to make the appropriate claim to the Community for its repair. If the Community fails to do so, the rental contract will be terminated.

What does the tenant have to pay?

As we have explained above, the ordinary maintenance of the property, as well as minor repairs, are the responsibility of the tenant. That is to say, everything that is broken due to ordinary use: taps; blinds and their tapes; locks; clogged pipes; toilet cisterns; broken glass and window panes; bathroom; replacement of the mattress; bed base; boiler due to misuse; holes in the walls; paint in poor condition; loose sockets; pests; sealing of bathtubs and taps;

Since the law does not clearly specify what is considered to be a small repair, the courts have established two criteria:

- Duration of the lease: if something is damaged in the first months of the lease, it is repaired by the landlord. After that, it is presumed that misuse has occurred and, therefore, in order to avoid paying for the repair, the tenant would have to prove that it was not his fault.

- Cost of the repair: that it does not exceed €150 or that the cost does not exceed 50% of the value of the new property.

It must also be taken into account whether the property is new or second-hand. In the first case, it must be demonstrated that it is a manufacturing defect so that the tenant does not have to repair it. If not, it will be considered to have been misused. In the case of items that have already been used and have reached the end of their useful life, it will be up to the landlord.

What can you do if the owner does not take care of his part?

If the owner fails to act, there are three options:

A. Bring it to the attention of the landlord so that he can repair it at the time of the loss or breakdown.

B. That the tenant carries out the repair after notifying the owner.

C.Terminate the lease if your obligations have been met and the landlord fails to repair.

If the owner of your property plays dumb when it comes to having to repair it, contact us.

Real estate and sales law

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