Landlords or Tenants: Who’s Responsible for the Repairs?

Landlord Repair Agreements in San Diego, CA

Though the specific provisions binding a rental agreement can vary from unit to unit, both the landlord and tenant are typically responsible for certain repair obligations. However, there is occasionally some grey area, making the responsibility difficult to determine at times. The Chula Vista home insurance experts at American Tri-Star have some information to help guide you through some of these situations.

Structural Damage

In California, the landlord is legally responsible for repairing conditions that seriously affect the rental unit’s habitability. This includes maintaining the unit’s structure and exterior while ensuring the rental property is up to code and in habitable living condition. Units must be adequately weatherproofed and free from any potential hazards, such as broken stairs or loose gutters, or the landlord could be liable for damages.


The landlord is typically responsible for structural damages if a fire was caused naturally or by the landlord’s own failure to adequately fireproof the unit. However, if the fire was caused by the tenant’s negligence, the tenant could be responsible for paying damages to the landlord and potentially to other tenants if their units are also in need of repair. For this reason, and to protect their personal possessions, it is important for tenants to purchase renter’s insurance.


Landlords must pay for most repairs that affect the unit’s water usage. They must ensure there is working hot and cold water, a working toilet and bathtub or shower, and the unit must comply with local housing code standards. Though a leaky faucet does require attention, it does not usually make the unit uninhabitable or pose a serious problem. Unless a leak is causing major damage, in most cases the landlord is not legally bound to repair it. In these instances, or where repairs are cosmetic in nature, payment is typically the tenant’s responsibility if he or she decides to proceed with repairs.

These are only a few of the repair situations that can arise for a rental property, and these may vary based on your rental agreement. To learn more about the responsibilities of landlords and renters, contact American Tri-Star Insurance. In addition to homeowners insurance, we also offer affordable commercial, health, bond, and auto insurance in Chula Vista. For more information and to receive a free quote, call 619-827-0522 to speak with one of our friendly representatives.