I’d like to chime in with another perspective from a landlord.
There have been two broken windows in my triplex in the last two years. The first was a tenant’s pyscho ex-girlfriend stalking her, breaking a small pane by the front door in order to break in.
The second was another tenant fighting with his teenaged son. Never got the whole story on who broke the window or how.
Both tenants fixed the windows themselves.
I bring up the above incidences as a guess as to why that phrase is included in your lease. It’s similar to the more common phrase in a lot of leases saying that the landlord is not responsible for stopped up toilets. I include the latter phrase in my leases, but not the former (although it’s worth thinking about).
I have to say that, when I have good tenants, you betcha I’m going to fix a window broken by a neighbor or a tree toot sweet. Even with not so good tenants, I’ll fix the window in such a circumstance.
If a tenant breaks the window themselves and refuse to fix it, I’m likely to use that as grounds for eviction. I have language in my leases that make clear that the tenant is required to reasonably maintain the property.
All other circumstances would be considered on a case by case basis.
This might sounds harsh, but you would not believe some tenants’ sense of entitlement. You would also not believe what I am willing to do for good tenants. I heard recently that one of my tenants was laid off. I immediately called him and told him to consider his rental amount lowered by $(a significant amount)/month until he got back on his feet, and to let me know if the new amount became a hardship. Even though I am not currently making enough in this market to even cover the mortgage on the property (have an empty unit right now), I know that’s not my current tenants’ fault. It’s in my interests to keep good tenants and to make sure the property is maintained.
I would not be at all concerned if a potential tenant politely questioned such a phrase in the lease, and I would be happy to negotiate a change in the language to make clear that the tenant would not have to fix a window broken through no fault of his own. However, if a potential tenant was nasty or obstinate, and made clear that he would not be willing to sign the lease unless the phrase was struck and I agreed to fix a broken window under any circumstances, I would be happy to have that excuse not to rent to that person. If someone is going to be unreasonable, it’s good to know that up front, so I can look for a better tenant.