Who’s right in landlord-tenant dispute?

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. I have been renting a house for 11 years. When I moved in, all of the windows had blinds, inexpensive basic blinds. Some need to be replaced due to everyday use and normal wear and tear. Is it the landlord’s responsibility to replace the blinds or is it my responsibility?
— Tenant

A. That depends.

You’ll need to take a close look at your lease, but before you do, consider this.

We took your question to Jerry Lynch, a certified financial planner with JFL Total Wealth Management in Boonton, who also happens to be a landlord.

He said his goal is to keep good tenants.

“I make money not by how much rent I charge, but rather by how long I keep the tenant,” he said. “A good tenant will put a few bucks in my pocket monthly, help pay down the mortgage and over time the property will be worth more money.”

Having a tenant like you – for 11 years – is “awesome,” Lynch said. That’s because for all those years, he didn’t have vacancies, he didn’t have to paint and clean the unit several times when people left, and he didn’t have to pay fees to real estate agents to show the apartment.

Now to your lease.

Lynch said he’s guessing it doesn’t specifically say you have to replace the blinds, so your first step should be to see how much it would cost to replace the blinds, and compare that to what it would cost you to leave and find a new apartment.

“I would speak to the landlord and say that you would like to see if he can pay for it and as a backup, maybe agree to split the cost,” Lynch said. “If he still says no, I am not sure if it is worth going to war over this as it seems like this place is home to you.”

Email your questions to moc.p1544756243leHye1544756243noMJN1544756243@ksA1544756243.