Maintenance of leased properties


The owner does not want to paint the walls and neither does he authorize it to do so despite the fact that more than a year has passed since the rental property was taken over. Since the rent is paid on time, there is some way to force it. What does the law say? What is the procedure?


The lease contract, as bilateral and reciprocal that it is, generates for the lessor some obligations towards the lessee and in turn other obligations of the lessee towards the lessor.

In effect, the Civil Code and Law 820 of 2003 provide that the landlord must maintain the property in normal conditions so that the tenant can enjoy it for the purpose agreed in the contract. Consequently, if the paint on the walls has deteriorated as a result of failures from the property itself, such as deficiency in water collection channels, deficient drainage, humidity, expansion, cracks, differential settlements, and even normal deterioration of three years of use, I think that it is the responsibility of the landlord to carry out the maintenance.

But if the causes of deterioration of the painting and the property, in general, come from abnormal use of the property or because of the tenant’s fault, it is in charge of the tenant to make the necessary repairs to keep it in the same conditions that it was offered and delivered by the landlord. .

On the other hand, Article 1993 of the Civil Code in harmony with the current leasing law, empowers the landlord to make discounts for indispensable non-rental repairs, taking into account that in no case may they exceed 30 per cent of the value of the monthly rent.

If the cost of repairs is higher, the landlord may make periodic discounts of up to 30 percent of the rent until the total cost is completed. Likewise, the repair and maintenance can be agreed upon with the landlord against the value of the rent.

We suggest calling the landlord before an authorized conciliation centre to try to reach an agreement on the completion of the painting work, there are even known agreements that the tenant places the labour and the landlord the materials, for example.

If the landlord’s intransigence persists, the lease contract may be terminated unilaterally, invoking the cause of ignorance by the landlord of the tenant’s rights enshrined in the law and/or contractually. For further guidance, it is essential to know documents and more details.