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Faucet dripping and broken cistern: does the landlord or tenant pay?

Dripping faucets, cast light bulbs or strips of blinds and always the same dispute between owner and tenant. Who is the payment of certain bills in the rental of a home? They are quicksand open to a multitude of interpretations that lead lawyers, consumer associations and even the judges themselves. “It is impossible to give a universal response and we must see each case in particular to know who corresponds to pay,” says Pelayo of Salvador Morell, a lawyer at the firm ofSalvador Real Estate Lawyers.

As a general framework, and according to the Law on Urban Leases (LAU), the lessor is obliged to carry out, without the right to raise the rent, all repairs that are necessary to preserve the dwelling in the conditions of habitability to serve the Agreed use, except when the deterioration of which repair is imputable to the lessee. For example, major fixes or replacement by obsolescence of appliances and furniture run on their own. However, the thing changes if the washer jam is hijacked by a tenant negligence. For this reason, the technician’s report is the key where the cause of the break or breakdown is indicated, remember from Provivienda.

For its part, the lessee has the obligation to maintain the house as if it were own by carrying out the necessary small repairs that require the wear and tear of the ordinary use of the house. “The obligation under Article 21.4 LAU could be summarized as follows: Take care of the house as if it were yours and do not expect the landlord to send you a handyman for any small thing,” De Salvador says.

SMALL REPAIRS . What is a small repair? This is the source of all disputes between landlords and tenants. Many end up in court. “If a light bulb is blown, a door knob falls or a mirror breaks, the tenant must take charge, according to the case law, if the cost of repair is less than 150 euros,” they say in Reparalia. The Provincial Court of Murcia in a 2001 ruling stated: we are facing a small repair when “the invoice is approximately half the current cost of a new washing machine.”

Thus, Touchless¬†faucets, dripping cisterns and radiators, blinds, door fittings, lock changes, the arrangement of heel boards, the repair of the sink siphon or a bed frame are minor repairs and are, therefore, By the tenant. Now, there are those who consider the time factor to determine responsibility. “If the tenant has just entered it is for the landlord to deliver the thing in state of use,” they say in Provivienda.

But as it is not always so, and to avoid paying the tank to the month of rent, it is advisable to thoroughly review the floor. Moreover, in the drafting of contracts, it is increasingly common to distinguish clearly between small repairs by the lessee and repairs to serve the agreed use by the lessor. To avoid abuses it is important to remember that if the contract includes agreements that modify what is specified by law to the detriment of the tenant will be considered null.

It is clear that everything else – the walls, the floor, the roof, the pipes and all the elements that are there static – are part of the structure and are repairs at the lessor’s expense.

BOILER . The boiler is one of those issues that generate more controversy. According to the lawyer of the firm of Real Estate Lawyers, “the replacement or major repair will correspond to the lessor – provided there is no fault of the lessee – but not when it can be framed within the concept of small repair. And he continues: “Most of the time you pay with the gas supply contract the periodic reviews of the boiler. Who is it? In my opinion, the tenant, because it comes within the maintenance of the thing and also fits with the concept Of small repair “. It sustains its argument with a sentence of 2011 dictated by the Audiencia Provincial of Barcelona,

Other judges have followed different criteria. In a 2006 ruling the magistrate says that the repair of the boiler pump, which amounted to 60% of the amount of a monthly rent, can not be qualified as a small repair. “It corresponds to one of the repairs that must be faced by the landlord to keep the property leased in suitable conditions of habitability, as it is an essential service for a house in Madrid during the coldest months of the year.

When the motive is a poor functioning of the boiler since the beginning of the contract, the responsible also is the landlord. And more if you can demonstrate the assiduous presence of the technical service.

PLUMBING . Examples of small repairs, such as the repair of a toilet bowl or a faucet, are those of the tenant, but not the humidities and tiles that move – they are considered to be necessary repairs At the owner’s expense.

“If a pipe jam is due to the fact that certain materials have been flushed to the toilet, the repair is paid by the tenant. If it is due to external factors (poor state of the pipes or general facilities of the house or building) then it is done Charge the landlord, “point from Reparalia.

ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES . These are the great repairs that must be faced by the owner. According to Reparalia data, “4% of incidences in the household registered annually are due to complications with this type of apparatus.” Although, again, you have to take care of the reason why the refrigerator or the dishwasher have been damaged. If an appliance breaks due to the tenant having thrown a product that has interfered in its good functioning, it would have to bear the cost. If that same appliance is broken because its useful life has expired, then the landlord must replace it.

ELECTRICITY. Problems with the electrical installation fall within the responsibilities of the owner of the house, except for small repairs, such as changing a plug that costs about 50 euros.

What the tenant can not do is ask the landlord for a complete change of the electrical installation in case he wants to increase the contracted power to service new elements that he installs, says lawyer De Salvador. A different question is whether the power is not enough to serve the elements that the lessor has installed, since the housing “would not serve the agreed use.”

WHAT YOU NEVER MUST DO . Even if the owner disregards his obligation to replace or repair an appliance, you should never stop paying the rent as a form of pressure because it could resolve the contract and initiate eviction. “In the absence of a landlord’s case, he must be required to make a reasonable period of time (burofax preferable) to repair it, giving him a period of time, and if he does not pay, repair the tenant and go to verbal claim for a claim 2000 euros) to recover, “explained in Provivienda.