What Can You Ask Your Landlord to Repair?

a couple with moving boxes

A tenant's life is full of ups and downs, and it can get even more frustrating if your landlord plays hardball about repairs. Luckily, in most places it's your right as a tenant to have the owner of the property fix any major problems.

Leaks and other significant damage should be addressed as soon as they occur. Unfortunately, some tenants end up absorbing the cost of repairs due to a delayed response or flat out refusal from their landlord. While there are some minor upkeep issues you may choose to take care of, some of the most common house problems should be handled by the landlord. Here are eight things you can ask your landlord to repair.

1. Leaking Roof

A leaking roof can make your home uncomfortable, dangerous, or even uninhabitable. As soon as you spot a leak in the roof, call the landlord. Even a little dripping could cause major problems—your precious electronics and furniture may be spoiled by the water if the problem isn't repaired in time.

2. Broken Windows and Doors

If you're renting a place that has broken window panes or doors before you move in, ask the landlord to repair them before you sign the lease. If you or one of your guests are responsible for door or window damage while you're already on your lease, the paying party will depend on your rental agreement.

a broken window in a door

3. Blocked Sewer System

A blocked sewer system can affect whole groups of apartments—even a full estate—rendering them basically unlivable. The toilets may flood, causing a danger to you and any roommates or family members. Blocked sewers cause an even greater health risk. If you realize the sewer is causing problems in your apartment, try to stay away for a few days until the issue is fixed. If your landlord refuses to address sewage issues, you may choose to terminate your lease, or take up matters with authorities.

4. Broken Fireplace

The fireplace is an integral part of many homes in colder climates. If you rent an apartment with a fireplace, make sure it's functioning properly. If the fireplace develops any problems naturally, you must call the landlord for repairs, since it's ultimately their property. Making repairs for your landlord only hurts you as the tenant.

However, if the damage was caused directly by your actions, you may be forced to repair it out of pocket. If you don't need the fireplace, don't waste your time repairing. If you feel that the repair cost is too much, you may ask your landlord to share the cost. At the end of the day, if you choose to install a brand new fireplace, it will be for the benefit of your landlord.

5. Water Heating System

Don't struggle with bathing cold water when the landlord could repair the water heater. Some tenants don't know they have a basic right to such amenities. The cost of heating the water is usually included in your rent. If the system develops any problems, the landlord should be notified as soon as possible.

a technician works on a water heating tank

6. Major Electrical Issues

There are many electrical problems that a rental apartment may experience. Some of the problems are internal and may be handled by the tenant. However, some are major and must be dealt with by the landlord. Differentiating such issues will help you know when to call your landlord and when to call the electrician.

One of the electrical problems that will require the intervention of the landlord is when there is a problem with the connection to the grid. If the whole apartment block experiences problems, chances are that there is a major problem that may need the landlord's intervention. However, in case of minor internal electrical problems such as malfunctioning sockets, you may choose to do the repairs yourself.

7. Cable TV Problems

Cable TV connections may develop problems too. If you realize you're disconnected for no reason, or you can't receive the signal, call the landlord to intervene. However, if you feel that you can repair the problem without causing more damage, you may also go ahead to repair. If you experience bad TV connections, check with your neighbours to see if the problem affects the entire block. Your landlord should repair all cable TV issues without asking for a refund.

8. Supply Pipes leaks

Leaks of all types—from wall pipes to sinks and even gas supply—must be repaired as soon as they occur. Gas leaks, especially, must be handled with urgency. You shouldn't even have time for negotiating with your landlord. If he/she can't fix the gas leak, you should terminate the lease or call the authorities. The urgency of water leaks depends on the extent of the dripping, but they should be dealt with quickly, too.


As a tenant, you have the right to enjoy your stay in an apartment without having to worry about amenities. The landlord should ensure all the necessary features of a living space are functional, or repaired in a timely manner. Don't stay in an apartment that poses a danger to your health in any way. In such a case, you have the right to terminate the lease and demand to be refunded.