Generally speaking, most leases stipulate the tenant is responsible for changing lightbulbs. Practically speaking though, in today’s modern world of renting, the best property managers and landlords will go the extra mile and change lightbulbs that are part of the apartment for you.
If the lease doesn’t stipulate, ask your landlord.
When should the tenant change lightbulbs?
There is no doubt a tenant is almost always responsible for all ‘reasonable wear and tear’ on the property. So, if a light bulb needs to be changed while you are staying in the apartment, you are likely expected to change them. Ask your landlord and check your lease. If you are worried about hard-to-reach areas or similar, ask your landlord if they would help.
In extreme circumstances where a light bulb malfunctions or the bulb is too high to reach, the landlord or property manager may be responsible for fixing it. Again, check your lease and ask your landlord.
What about common areas?
Common areas such as hallways, exterior lighting or laundry rooms, are a different story. In all common areas, the landlord is typically responsible for fixing. If you notice a problem, tell the landlord right away.
How do landlords ask tenants to change lightbulbs?
Some landlords will want tenants to change lightbulbs on an ongoing basis. Some may ask the tenant only to change as needed.
Here is some potentially good news. If you have LED lights in your apartment, you are probably covered. The benefit of LED lighting is that they don’t need to be changed as often, and some tenants can go through their entire tenancy without needing to change any LED lights in the house.
Can a landlord charge you to replace lightbulbs?
If you are responsible to fix it, and the landlord does the work for you, they likely can charge you for the cost of the lightbulb. Practically speaking, the landlord should inform you of any such charges beforehand. And you should ask.
To summarize, in most instances, a tenant is responsible for changing a lightbulb in a rental property if it is due to general wear. However, there may be certain cases where a landlord may be responsible or as a measure of goodwill, perhaps he/she may want to help. Although not required, the best property managers will change light bulbs that are part of the apartment for free.