If you’re a DIY landlord you probably have the privilege of being your own CEO, accountant, and maintenance person all rolled into one. Since you’re doing everything, it’s sometimes necessary to make a judgment call about what needs to be fixed right away and what can be done at a later date.

However, there are certain instances where it’s illegal to let repairs go unchecked. Here’s a guide to figuring out what your legal obligations are as a landlord.

Local safety code

Problems that fall under your local safety code must be addressed immediately. You can find guidelines for your specific state online and we recommend checking those out. But most local safety codes include maintenance of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, cases of toxic mold, and any safety features like banister and railing repair.


Plumbing issues are a landlord’s responsibility, and it’s best to take care of these as soon as possible. Water leaks, pipe damage, and sprinkler systems are all included in your list of responsibilities.

Heating and air conditioning

You’re responsible for ensuring that a tenant’s home is habitable, so heating and air conditioning repairs are usually up to you. However, a landlord is not legally obligated to install an air conditioning system if there is not one in place.

To make repairs even easier on yourself, we recommend using an online maintenance tracking tool that can be used to track the date of when you last did repairs and notify your tenant about any issues that you plan on fixing.

Landlords, any additional advice? Lessons learned about maintenance on your investment property?

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Amanda has worked as a journalist, an SEO copywriter, and a social media specialist. Her aim as a Four Walls contributor is to provide something worth reading and create a community for people who lease and love it. She’s also a real person, not just a mysterious internet writer, who loves silversmithing, podcast-binging, and trying to figure out how to fix her rented apartment’s bad linoleum floor (see, just like you!)