This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
As to repairs, the rule is that, in the absence of an express agreement, the landlord is not bound to make repairs. This, however, relates to premises in the occupation of the tenant. In an apartment house it would relate to the tenant's apartment, but the landlord would, nevertheless, be required to repair those portions of the house not exclusively in the occupation of a particular tenant, but used in common by all the tenants as, for example, the entrance, yards, hallways, etc. Where a landlord is obliged to keep a portion of the premises under repair, his obligation is to keep the portion in repair for the use for which it was intended. Thus, the landlord is under no obligation to keep a fire escape in such repair that it may be used as a balcony or as a platform for drying clothes.
The matter of repairs is usually provided for by express agreement, and, under such circumstances, the agreement itself controls. Where a landlord has obligated himself to make certain repairs, and has failed to do so, the tenant may cause the repairs to be made and recover the expense as damages for breach of the landlord's contract, or, in some cases, he may leave the premises and recover for the damages sustained. Where a landlord agrees to repair a ceiling and fails to do so, he is not liable to the tenant for damages for personal injuries sustained by the tenant from the fall of the ceiling. The tenant has his option either to repair the ceiling and deduct the cost from the rent, or to move away from the premises.
In the absence of fraud, there is no warranty implied on the part of the landlord that the building is safe and convenient or suited for the purpose for which the tenant takes it. If the tenant claims he has been defrauded, he must, as soon as he discovers the fraud, move away, or else he will be liable for the rent.