First, you must notify the landlord of the condition needing repair. It is best to give a written, dated notice informing the landlord of the problem and keep a copy for yourself. Written notice provides tangible evidence that the landlord was aware of the need for the repair. If it is not possible to give written notice, verbal notice is acceptable unless the lease requires written notice. Be sure the lease provision for notice is followed. If your landlord fails to make the requested repairs within a reasonable time after written notice, you may want to consider using repair and deduct. In determining what is a reasonable time consider the seriousness of the condition and the nature of the repair.
When the landlord fails to respond to repair requests, the tenant can arrange to have the required repairs done by a competent repair person at a reasonable cost. The tenant should keep copies of all repair receipts and ask the repair person for a statement detailing the work performed and the problem corrected. Keep copies of this information. You may deduct these repair costs from your future rent by sending copies of the repair receipts along with the remaining amount of rent due to your landlord. It is a good idea to notify the landlord in writing that you plan to use the repair and deduct remedy before you arrange for the repairs to be done. Written notice is the best notice. There are additional remedies which are risky to pursue without legal counsel. If you do not feel that repair and deduct will address your issue, you should consider contacting an attorney for more detailed information. You may also wish to contact the local county code inspector if you are in a city, town or county with a housing, building, or health and safety code. A landlord must comply with applicable local housing codes. If you are unaware whether or not your area has such codes, call the city hall or county courthouse and ask for the building inspector or the code enforcement office.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified landlord tenant lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact an attorney in your area from our directory to discuss your specific legal situation.