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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 30168
Experience:  Attorney
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My landlord is trying to get me to pay in my water heater

Customer Question

My landlord is trying to get me to pay for drywall in my water heater closet that his insurance company suggested to him. He says his insurance will drop him if this isn't done. I had the county inspect me a few years ago and passed inspection. I don't feel this improvement is my responsibility. This is not my insurance. I can't find anything like this in my lease. I have a responsibility for pro-rata share of 3.78% and Maintenance of plumbing, heating, interior ceiling, electrical, plate glass, entrances, exits and HVAC. The cost of this drywall installation is $560 and I don't think this is my responsibility. What do you think?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Is this a residential or commercial lease? What state are you in?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Commercial, CO
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Ok, thank you. I wanted to check because that kind of clause in a residential lease would not be enforceable.

There's no legal reason you should have to pay the full cost of installing the drywall. For him to collect 3.78% of the cost, as per your lease, he'd need to establish that this was an intrinsic part of the plumbing or heating system. I'll admit, I'm not a contractor, but I just don't see how that's possible. The insurance company most likely wants dry wall around the water heater to reduce the risk of fire if it sparks or malfunctions. That's really not part of plumbing, heating, or anything else you agreed in the lease to cover. And that means it's not your responsibility.

It's not a violation of your lease to refuse to pay monies that you don't have any legal obligation to pay. He cannot terminate your lease if it's for an established term.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What should I do next?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry, but we're only allowed to give general information, not specific legal advice. I can't tell you how to proceed with the information I've given. But you have zero legal obligation to pay for that drywall, and your landlord cannot evict you if you don't.