While it’s the landlord’s job to make sure the rental premises is fit for human habitation and complies with all local health and building ordinances and codes, both the landlord and the tenant have a duty to maintain the premises. A lease agreement will outline any general and specific responsibilities of each party, and include any additional statutory obligations of the parties that concern maintenance of the premises.

Landlord’s maintenance obligations

  • Deliver the premises in a safe, clean, and habitable condition.
  • Comply with all health and housing codes.
  • Make all reasonable efforts to keep the common areas in a clean and proper condition.
  • Provide and maintain the following systems in good and safe working condition at the time this Agreement is executed: electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning.

Tenant’s maintenance obligations

  • Comply with all obligations imposed primarily on a tenant by applicable provisions of health and housing codes.
  • Keep the areas of the premises occupied or used by tenant reasonably clean.
  • Use the following in a reasonable manner: electrical systems; plumbing; sanitary systems; heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems; elevators, if provided; and facilities and appliances of the premises.
  • Refrain from defacing, damaging, destroying, impairing, or removing any part of the premises.
  • Comply with all reasonable rules and regulations in the rental agreement; comply with amended rules and regulations.
  • Ensure that each smoke detector installed remains functional and is not disabled. If battery operated, the tenant must replace batteries in the smoke detector as necessary. If the smoke detector is hard wired into the premises’ electrical system, and the tenant believes that the smoke detector is not functional, the tenant must provide notice to the landlord under IC 22-11-18-3.5(e)(2).

Since you never know what can happen during a tenancy, make sure to review the list of maintenance obligations with your tenant at the beginning of the lease term. For some tenants who are new to renting they may not be aware of their obligations, so setting expectations upfront is always a good idea for a landlord.