The Maintenance and Repair clause determines who is responsible for the work and cost of keeping the premises in good condition. It also determines who is responsible for fixing any damage for both "normal wear and tear" and for other types of damage, whether intentional or accidental.
Performance of Repairs by Tenant
Option 1. In the event Landlord fails to make required repairs within a reasonable period of time Tenant shall have the right to make the necessary repair and deduct the actual, reasonable costs thereof from the next installment of rent then due.
Option 2. Tenant waives the right to make repairs at Landlord s expense under any law, statute or ordinance now or hereafter in effect.
This optional additional clause may provide that the tenant can make repairs and then charge the landlord for the cost, either by demanding reimbursement or withholding rent. Depending on the area, denying this statutory right might be unenforceable.
Landlord's obligations. This section typically restricts the landlords responsibility towards maintenance and repair to the exterior of the building and common areas. This keeps the landlord from having to fix routine issues on the premises either caused by the tenant or that the tenant should be responsible for fixing.
Tenant's obligations. This section usually makes the tenant responsible for maintaining the condition of the premises at the time of lease. "Normal wear and tear", or the usual deterioration of the premises, is not typically included. This clause also holds the tenant responsible for any accidental or intentional damage of the premises. Explicitly stating this helps the landlord define what the tenant is responsible for and possibly saves future repair and/or litigation costs.
It is important to define clearly define the landlord's and tenants rights and responsibilities.
"A well-drafted repair clause not only states who is obligated to perform the work but specifies who will pay for it." Nathanial Hoffman, Avoiding Potholes in Leases: Maintenance, Repair and Replacement
"Reasonable wear and tear is a term often found in leases to limit the tenant's responsibility to repair or repaint the premises upon leaving. In general, the longer the time of tenancy, the more wear and tear can be expected. Litigation dealing with reasonable wear and tear between landlord and tenant occurs most often when there is a deposit for any damages 'beyond reasonable wear and tear." http://definitions.uslegal.com/r/reasonable-wear-and-tear/
"Simply withholding some or all of your rent may prompt a corrective action. This, however, is a risky strategy. We would not advise withholding rent until you have exhausted other remedies. If you withhold rent there is no guarantee that the problems you have will be remedied. In addition, withholding rent may simply make things more difficult with the landlord and land you in housing court, if the landlord decides to file an eviction action." http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources/faq/repairs.html