AgentRentals

Owners dispute duty to rent-free tenant

Who's responsible for making repairs inside apartment?

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Q: I live in a 12-unit apartment building. When the previous owner died, his will provided an apartment "rent-free for life" to a friend of mine. The building was sold recently and the new owners are aware of the agreement and do not collect rent from this tenant. But an issue has come up and I am wondering who is legally responsible for the maintenance inside this rent-free apartment? They are claiming that since my friend doesn't pay rent they are not obligated to make any repairs to his unit. He is not asking them to renovate or upgrade the apartment but just to fix things that break. Does this make sense? A: This is an interesting situation that does not commonly occur and the only way to accurately answer your question is to review the will or other appropriate documents to see the exact provisions of the bequest. It is possible that there were limitations or requirements placed on the use or maintenance of the rent-free apartment as part of the bequest. Howe...