A landlord's legal responsibility to repair fences depends heavily on the specific jurisdiction's law. However, most jurisdictions require the landlord to repair the property unless the tenant is responsible for the damage. Those with specific landlord-tenant law questions should consult a local attorney.
In most cases, the lease agreement defines the landlord-tenant relationship. Should a provision in the lease address repair of specific portions of the property, such as fences, that provision will generally control the landlord's legal responsibility to repair the fences.
Many jurisdictions have an implied warranty of habitability, meaning that a residential landlord must keep the property in a habitable condition. Individual states define "habitable" differently, however, should an unrepaired fence render the property uninhabitable under state law, many states require the landlord to make the repairs even if the lease should say otherwise.
Failure to Repair
Tenant remedies for failure to repair fences vary by state. When failure to repair the fence renders the property uninhabitable, some states allow the tenant to terminate his lease. Many states allow the tenant to make the repair to the fences himself and take the amount out of rent, or leave the defect and pay reduced rent. Tenants may also sue the landlord for damages.
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