Can a landlord bill a tenant fees when repairs are punitive instead of necessary?

Asked 8 months ago - Pittsburgh, PA

My steel front door was cosmetically damaged: two gouges to the front. I repaired these gouges, with metal bonding "spackle" and sanding for a smooth, even finish. The result was a smooth service that only needed painting to match the other doors throughout the property. The damage to the door was cosmetic and would have been undetectable – the door's functionality was unaffected.

Instead of providing paint and inspecting the result before making a final decision, the property management company required and pursued full replacement of the door resulting in nearly $1600.00 in expenses for which I am now being held responsible.

Is this reasonable and am I legally responsible for this unnecessary replacement when the cosmetic repairs already underway would have sufficed?

Additional information

*smooth surface, not service.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Ryan Michael Davidson


    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Depends a lot on the terms of the lease. But most leases say that you're not really allowed to do your own repairs. The landlord can do them to his own satisfaction.

    That being said, the repairs still have to be reasonable. You can certainly contest the amount of his charges, but that would probably require filing suit in small claims.

    This answer does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
  2. Michael Ian Werner

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . First and foremost, you need to review your lease for any language that addresses this situation. If the lease is silent, then the landlord does have the right to make reasonable repairs and bill you for the same.

    If you disagree with the "reasonableness" of these repairs, you can withhold payment. However, if you withhold payment, you are opening yourself up to a potential lawsuit which could result in an eviction.

    I suggest you contact a local Landlord Tenant Lawyer to review this matter in more detail before taking such actions.

    If you liked this answer, please rate it "HELPFUL" or "BEST". You can contact Michael I. Werner, Esq. for further... more

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