Are Landlords Responsible for Replacing Light Bulbs?

Last Updated: September 12, 2023 by Roberto Valenzuela

Landlords usually aren’t required by state laws to replace light bulbs, except as required for basic health and safety.

When Are Landlords Required To Replace Light Bulbs?

There are not many situations where landlords are legally required to replace light bulbs. Even when there’s applicable law, practicality often forces tenants to pay out of pocket for light bulbs. A lawsuit or other legal process takes an order of magnitude more time and expense.

The following situations are the only common ones where a landlord may be legally required to pay for light bulbs:

  • Maintaining Health and Safety in Common Areas. If a lack of lighting in a common area creates a safety issue, the landlord has a duty to replace the bulbs.
  • Meeting Lease Requirements. Landlords have a contractual duty to do any bulb replacement agreed to in the lease.
  • Meeting Local Ordinance Requirements. Some locally applicable housing codes may require bulb replacement.
  • Specialized Fixtures on Provided Appliances. Some states make landlords fix provided appliances. Landlords in these states must replace bulbs on such appliances, as necessary to keep them in good working order.

Consequences for Failure To Provide Light Bulbs

Landlords usually aren’t liable for replacing light bulbs. Even in rare cases when they are, it’s usually no more than a minor violation. Where there’s a continued violation after proper notice, these are typical options available to a tenant: