Who needs to repair a duplex?

| Nov 21, 2020 | Residential Real Estate

Many duplex owners actually own the entire building. There merely rent out one side while living in the other. In a case like this, the owner has to make the repairs, unless the terms of the lease say otherwise. 

In some cases, though, two people will both sides of a duplex independently. If you own one side and your neighbor owns the other, who has to make repairs? How do you split expenses?

Setting it up in advance

This is a complex buying situation, and it’s important to work with experienced legal professionals from the very beginning. You need to set up a binding agreement in advance to stipulate how this will be addressed. Even if it’s as simple as splitting any repair bills in half, you want to get that in writing. 

Doing so doesn’t guarantee you won’t run into issues, though. For instance, one case saw water damage from the roof cause rot in only one side of a duplex. While the two owners agreed to split the roof repair costs in half, the person who did not have damage in their actual unit did not want to pay to repair the rot. The other owner, citing the initial source of the water (the shared roof) claimed they did both need to pay. You can imagine how complex a disagreement like this can get, and anything involving money is going to be contentious. 

Working it out

The right paperwork can help pave the way for the ownership of a duplex, but you may need more. If you run into a disagreement that the documents can’t solve, you need to know what options you have to work things out and find a solution. It may be time to talk to an attorney.