It is an issue that involves ongoing conflicts between landlord and tenant. The first thing we have to take into account is that the Urban Leasing Act (LAU) in its Article 21.4 provides:”small repairs that require wear and tear for the ordinary use of the dwelling will be at the expense of the tenant.
Having said the foregoing, it must be borne in mind that if the parties have expressly agreed any clause on this matter, by virtue of the freedom of agreements (art. 1255 Civil Code) it is necessary to be as agreed.
The Law does not give a clear and concise answer to what should be understood by small reparations, therefore, it is the doctrine and Courts who according to the following criteria have been interpreting it.
Small repairs in the rental of housing are those that have their origin in elements that are used daily and that do not form part of the facilities or general services of the building. The pipes, ceilings, floors, walls, etc. are part of the structure of the dwelling and therefore their repair will be at the expense of the landlord. On the other hand, repairs of taps, blinds, locks, boilers, paint, doors, etc… are considered to be elements of daily use, the repair of which will be at the expense of the tenant.
One of the elements that are used to determine this case is TIME, which the tenant takes using the dwelling. Understandably, if the breakdown occurs shortly after the start of the contract, it can be considered that it will not be at the expense of the lessee, since not enough time has passed for its deterioration.
Another indicator to distinguish small repairs will be the COST of repair. Some courts consider that if the cost is reasonable in excess of the cost, it will be borne by the lessor or in any case, the parties may agree to repair it.
Finally, the parameter is also used if they are ordinary repairs (at the expense of the lessor) or minor repairs (at the expense of the lessee).
The important thing in these cases is that when the lease is formalized, it is advisable that the tenant review all the elements of the dwelling and verify the proper use of them, in addition to adding a photographic inventory to record the state of the same at the beginning.