Missing Maintenance: 4 Steps to Take When Your Landlord Neglects the Property

Missing Maintenance: 4 Steps to Take When Your Landlord Neglects the Property
  • Opening Intro -

    Renting an apartment or a house is convenient in many ways.

    One of the benefits is relying on the property owner to handle maintenance, upkeep, and repairs.

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However, if the landlord or a representative manager fails to follow through on these responsibilities, it can be very frustrating as you try to get the owner to handle their end of the rental agreement.

Here are some things you can do if the landlord neglects your rental property needs.

Contact the Landlord in Writing

Leaving voicemail messages or sending occasional text requests may miss the mark if the property owner does not check these communications very often or take them seriously. Instead, write a polite letter to the owner listing by the date the maintenance issue occurred or began and a brief description of each problem you would like to have addressed.

For example, you could mention the lawn has not been cut since the date of the last mowing or that a sink started leaking on a specific day.

Explain the problem as fully but succinctly as possible and remain courteous. Damage in your home or apartment is frustrating, but insults and rude demands rarely solve anything.

End the letter courteously by offering to meet with the landlord if that will help and that you are looking forward to a positive outcome soon.

If the landlord does not respond, try sending a follow-up letter by return receipt requested to show the addressee received it.

Check With Neighbors to See if They Have Similar Concerns

If the owner or landlord does not respond to your letter or concerns in a timely manner, ask the neighbors who share the same building or property if they have similar concerns. If they do, work together to help everyone.

A joint letter or request for a meeting is often more effective than just one renter’s concern. The more people you have with you, the more likely the landlord or owner is to take your plea seriously.

If no one else has the same concerns as you, consider whether you have been unavailable when someone tried to do the work in your apartment or if you are behind on your rent. Try to set up a meeting with the owner. It may be that the landlord or maintenance company is only available during hours you aren’t, and they may need specific permission to enter your home.

Call the Health Department

For serious concerns involving water quality, fire hazards, or other problems on the property where someone could get hurt, call the health department, fire department, or another community agency for advice and support as soon as possible. They may be willing to contact the owner to address the issue. Your landlord will also likely be much more receptive to a government agency contacting them than a renter.

other valuable tips:

File a Civil Lawsuit

When maintenance problems persist or are serious, you may need to hire a civil litigation lawyer and file a lawsuit. This is especially important if you are unable to break the lease without financial penalty or there is the continued risk of possible injury, like electrical wiring that sparks or is a fire hazard.

Many property owners do a great job with maintenance, but others slack off or are unreachable. Try the above steps if you experience problems with the person from whom you rent or lease.

Image Credit: by Pixabay

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Consumer Tips reference:

GUIDE: looking to refi your home

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