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Landlords and Tenants: Who Pays ? And for What ?

Posted by Michel on January 28, 2021

Do you practise or are you planning to invest in rentals? An effective way to build wealth at a lower cost, as long as your estimates are right! All costs related to housing are not shared at the whim of each person between the owner and his tenant. The law sets out the burdens – and duties – that you can place on your tenant comprehensively, so make no mistake and follow the guide!

Let us first clarify a few defining elements. There are inherent fees associated with owning real estate, which the owner must honour. They may relate to certain taxes (mainly land or household waste), physical maintenance of property (and buildings, if applicable), payment of invoices from service providers and suppliers (energy, water, routine maintenance of common areas and elevators, various repairs, etc.) or, where applicable, remuneration of the joint-ownership syndicate.

Of these charges, some can be recovered from the owner, from his tenant, of good quality. Then called rental charges, they are grouped under 3 categories by the law of July 6, 1989:

• services rendered in connection with the use of the various elements of the leased item;

• the cost of routine maintenance and minor repairs to the rented object’s common use elements;

• taxes that correspond to the services directly benefiting the tenant.

In a restrictive manner, the lease must list the portion of the fees attributable to the tenant. It is necessary to clearly state both their quantity and their precise distribution. The owner retains the obligation to pay certain expenses which are related to the value and the overall condition of the property.

Distribution in practice

Landlords and Tenants: Who Pays What ?

First, for consumable supplies, such as cold water, electricity and gas, the tenant has a duty to pay. When they are communal, hot water and heating are extra. At home, these costs are contracted and paid immediately by the occupant, who thus owes the owner nothing.

The following part of the rental fee concerns the routine maintenance of the building’s common areas (if applicable). Here we see the housework usually assigned to a cleaning firm, elevator maintenance, open space maintenance and other facilities that the condominiums should subscribe to.

Finally, taxes relating to the proper daily operation of the lease can be recovered from the tenant: the collection and sweeping of household waste.

For its part, the owner shall pay all costs relating to the major maintenance of the building alone (refurbishment of the façade, upgrading of the elevator, maintenance of the roof and chimneys), the creation of green spaces and other outdoor or common decorations.

Similarly, it is at his expense to replace common equipment (digital code, garbage cans) or related accommodation (boiler, water heater, windows, even kitchen equipment if fully equipped and rented at the outset).

Lastly, the condominium association dues and other expenses of maintenance remain entirely payable.

The caretaker’s wage is subject to a breakdown: if the person sweeps the outbuildings and handles trash cans, 75% is owed by the homeowner, 40 percent otherwise.

The tenant’s responsibility

If the owner has to rent a property in good condition and perform significant development or repair work, the tenant’s first obligation is to occupy the accommodation peacefully and not to make any major changes. Here, we mention the concept of liability, because it is likely to generate additional costs for the tenant that are not provided for in the fees.

He must also preserve it in the original state, in particular by cleaning actions: walls, floors, exteriors, etc. The occupant is also in charge of minor repairs to the interior. Note that this is the main point of dispute between tenants and landlords in terms of assessing the effectiveness of the tenant in this matter – with the return of the deposit paid during the relocation.

Let us add that the tenant is obligated to take out insurance against accidents and other rental hazards covering the property (natural disaster, water damage, fire, burglary, etc.). Each year, if the latter requests it, he will have to justify it to the owner.

The distribution of the financial burden between the owner and the tenant is defined by law, which makes it possible, where necessary, to turn against the owner. Nevertheless, on certain points that are regularly the subject of litigation, legal vagueness persists and leaves the reimbursement of the deposit to the owner’s appreciation: the state of the walls, for example, or of an object that may have been damaged by the tenant or by time. Better, and vice versa, to choose your tenant!

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