Exercise 2

Obligations of the Landlord

Landlord Tenant Exercise 2Juana Roberts and her family are renting a house from John Legetso. Two months after Juana moved in, John tells Juana that since he is getting older, he is having trouble doing some of the repairs that come up around the house and hauling the trash away. He says that if Juana wants to stay in the house, she’ll need to do repairs around the house and remove the trash herself. Juana wants to stay in the house, so she agrees, in writing, to perform these tasks for herself.

After a year and a half, Juana decides to terminate the rental agreement and gives proper notice and vacates the house. John decides to withhold half of her $800 deposit, saying that he is keeping it because Juana did not perform some of the household repairs she should have undertaken, such as repairing a leaky kitchen faucet and painting the living room. Juana brings legal action against John for her deposit, arguing that she should not be held financially responsible for repairs for household problems that she did not cause and the landlord is obligated to make.

How should the judge rule?

A. For Juana, because she should not be held financially responsible for repairs the owner was obligated to make.
Yes, answer A is correct. For a rental of a single family house, in order for the landlord and tenant to agree that the tenant should perform some of the landlord’s obligations, the agreement must be in writing, for consideration, in good faith, and not so that the landlord can evade obligations. In this case, it doesn’t seem that the agreement is for consideration, since Juana already had an agreement to rent the house, and did not receive any additional benefit for agreeing to undertake repairs and trash removal. Furthermore, it is unclear that the agreement to do ‘repairs’ obligated her to specifically fix the sink and paint the living room. As there was no enforceable agreement for Juana to assume John’s obligations, her deposit should be returned to her.
B. For John, because Juana agreed to do repairs in the house.
Sorry, but that's not the correct answer. Please select another.