It’s an inevitable fact of life: things break. Which means you will eventually need apartment repairs. Whether it’s a dripping faucet, a cracked window pane or a broken AC, your home—and pretty much everything in it – will need repair or replacement at some point.

But who is responsible for apartment repairs and maintenance? The tenant or the management company? What type of damage could cause you to lose your security deposit? What do you do if your apartment complex is not fixing problems?

Who Pays For Repairs In A Rental House Or Apartment?

In general, landlords or property managers are responsible for issues that affect the livability of the property. An item like a broken window, plumbing leak, or electrical concern should be addressed by management right away.

Alternately – while they might fix the problem – management is not financially responsible for damages caused by the resident. This could include a hole in the wall, a stained carpet, or maybe in some cases, a dripping faucet. In these instances, the resident must allow management to fix the problem and is responsible for the cost of the repair.

Residents are also responsible for general, day-to-day apartment maintenance, like cleaning the appliances to keep them free of pests and functioning properly. If you question who’s responsible for which apartment repairs, contact your property management office. And always consult your lease agreement first.

apartment repair

Using Your Security Deposit For Apartment Repairs

If you paid a refundable deposit upfront, you should consider it a good-faith promise to leave the apartment in the same condition as when you did your first walkthrough There is, of course, an expectation of normal wear and tear. Things like worn-out carpeting (as opposed to damaged carpeting), scuffs or scratches on the walls, chipping paint, etc. are just a part of day-to-day living.

Cost to repair damages beyond normal wear and tear, or anything caused by neglect, can be deducted from the security deposit after you move out. These items might include pet stains from your puppy, large holes in the wall from a misguided window treatment attempt, or the smoke detector that went missing after your most recent New Year’s Eve party.

To make sure you get your entire deposit back, take care of any apartment repairs due to damage from you, your guests, or any pets. And don’t forget to do a thorough, deep cleaning.

Know (And Protect) Your Apartment Repair Rights

Before you are bound to a lease, do a thorough and careful walkthrough of the unit you plan to rent. Use this time to make note of any pre-existing damage as well as any maintenance concerns that need to be addressed.

Throughout your residency be sure to immediately report any damage, in writing if possible. Your management company is required to address repair notices within a reasonable timeframe, usually 10-15 days, but up to 30 days, depending on state laws (here are some resources for Virginia and Maryland). If your landlord fails to address the issue and the apartment complex is not fixing problems, you may need to contact your local housing agency or file a claim for breach of contract.

If there’s been an emergency, such as a fire, flood, or a gas leak, the management company must begin to address the issue “immediately, because it impacts the health of the tenants and safety of the property,” real estate broker Melissa Zavala told

Apartment Complex Not Fixing Problems? Make the Move to Southern Management

At Southern Management, your peace of mind is paramount — that means we’re dedicated to handling apartment repairs and maintenance in a timely manner. Our apartment communities operate with a commitment to service. We will provide you with: a well-maintained and comfortable apartment to call home; friendly, responsive, and knowledgeable customer care; and convenient methods to express concerns, including maintenance requests.

With 75 apartment communities and more than 25,000 apartment homes, we offer well-maintained apartments for every resident, all of which include 24-hour emergency maintenance for major repair issues. Contact us to learn more about any of our apartment communities.