The Dwelling

Urgent and Necessary Repairs

You as the lessee, may carry out a repair or incur an expense that is urgent and necessary if the lessor neglects to do so.

When can you do this?

When there is a serious defect or breakage which affects the preservation or the use of the dwelling or the building.

For example:

  • major leaks of the pipes or roof;
  • faulty wiring;
  • blocked sewer pipes;
  • rotten stairs or balconies that give way;
  • furnace breakdowns during the winter;
  • defects in locks on access doors to the dwelling.

Also, if the lessor refuses or neglects to have the oil tank filled with heating oil in the winter, you may ask a specialized company to deliver the oil.

An exceptional measure!

In the above-mentioned urgent situations, you should be aware that even though the law allows you to carry out the necessary repairs or incur an expense, this is an exceptional measure to be exercised with great caution and in good faith. You must give an account to the lessor.

How to go about It?

Before undertaking urgent work or incurring an expense, you have the obligation of doing everything possible to get in touch with the lessor or his usual representative. It is important to make a note of the dates and times of your calls as well as the name of the person to whom you have spoken. Keep a copy of any written notice that you send to the lessor.

After you have informed or tried to inform your lessor and he does not act in due course or if it is impossible to reach him, you can call a qualified person such as a plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc. to carry out the urgent repair. However, remember that:

  • you must limit yourself to the essential work;
  • you must also keep the cost to a minimum… as though you were repairing your personal belongings.

A temporary solution

You cannot order an entire new set of pipes, a new heating system or a completely new roof. What is important at this stage is sealing the leak in the pipes, repairing only the part of the roof that is leaking or getting the heat back on. Please note that the lessor may intervene at any time to continue the work that you have begun.

And the expenses?

The lessor has to reimburse you for the reasonable expenses that you are claiming. You must give him the bills, receipts and other supporting documents. If you have repaired movable property, like a refrigerator, you must return the parts that have been replaced to the lessor. You have the right to withhold the amount you have spent on the urgent and necessary repairs from the future rent, without authorization from the Tribunal, if he refuses to reimburse you.

Remember also that, according to the law, you must advise the lessor as soon as you are aware of a serious defect or deterioration, whether the situation is urgent or not.