Maintenance and Repair

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.

Standard Clause

  1. Landlord's General Obligations
    1. Landlord's Obligations to Repair. Landlord shall, at Landlord's expense, perform all replacements and repairs necessary to maintain the exterior of the building in good repair and proper working order such as:
      1. load bearing walls,
      2. foundation,
      3. downspouts and gutters,
      4. common areas.
    2. Landlord's Obligations to Give Notice. Landlord shall give Tenant 48 hours advance notice of the scope and necessity of any work to be performed by Landlord, except in the event of an emergency.
      1. Landlord, without advance notice to Tenant, is authorized to undertake such "temporary" corrective action as is necessary to abate the emergency until Landlord can give the required notice to Tenant of the "permanent" corrective action to be undertaken by Landlord.
  2. Tenant's General Obligations
    1. Tenant's Obligations to Maintain. Tenant, at Tenant's expense, shall perform all repairs and replacements and all routine maintenance necessary to maintain the interior, non-structural components of the Premises and all major building systems in good repair and proper working condition, normal wear and tear excepted.
    2. Tenant's Obligations to Repair Damage. Tenant shall reimburse Landlord upon demand for all costs and expenses incurred by Landlord for the repair of any damage to the Premises caused by the negligence or willful misconduct of Tenant or any Tenant Party.
    3. Tenant's Obligations to Notify. Tenant shall promptly report in writing to Landlord any defective condition known to Tenant that Landlord is required to repair
  3. Performance. All parties shall promptly perform all necessary maintenance and repairs in a good and workmanlike manner in compliance with all applicable laws.

Optional Additional Clause Elements

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."

"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."