Landlord or Tenant Shall Be Responsible for Home Repairs and Maintenance?

In Hong Kong, the responsibility for home maintenance and repairs is outlined in tenancy agreements between landlords and tenants under the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance. The agreement specifies obligations for both landlords and tenants regarding major home maintenance, repairs, general upkeep, and any damage. We have listed out the most common obligations for both landlords and tenants for your reference.

Landlord’s responsibilities:
• Structural repairs: Any major damage to the building structure, roof, exterior walls, foundations, etc. Landlords are responsible for costly repairs to ensure the home meets safety standards.

• Common facilities: home maintenance and repairs of shared areas like lobbies, hallways, stairways, courtyards and building facilities are typically covered by landlords.

• Mechanical/electrical: Issues with electrical systems, elevators, fire safety systems, etc. Landlords handle repairs or replacements of major systems provided for tenant use.

• Periodic inspections: According to the building regulations, property owners need to regularly inspect rented units and building facilities, such as Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme by the government. Property owners are responsible for all window inspection costs to ensure compliance with government safety standards.

Tenants’ responsibilities:
• Minor repairs: Basic repairs like lighting issues, clogged toilet or air-conditioner repairs, etc. are typically covered by tenants at their expense.

• Damage caused by tenant: Any damage to the unit caused by tenant negligence or abuse is the financial responsibility of the tenant to repair or compensate the landlord for repair costs.

• Unit maintenance: General upkeep like cleaning and maintanance within the rental unit is expected of tenants to keep the property in good condition.

Clear communication and documentation of home maintenance and repairs responsibilities can help avoid confusion over who pays for repairs in Hong Kong rentals. Discussing obligations upfront and specifying them in the tenancy agreement allows for prompt issue resolution, cost avoidance, and ensuring the rental property meets safety standards of repair. With defined responsibilities, both landlords and tenants can maintain a livable and legally compliant rental.