What to Do If Your Landlord Won't Make Repairs to Property

Updated on April 23, 2016
Serious repairs should not be ignored
Serious repairs should not be ignored | Source
Repairs that jeopardize safety and security are urgent in nature
Repairs that jeopardize safety and security are urgent in nature | Source

Holding a Landlord Accountable for Repairs

All too often, people cringe at the mention of the word "landlord." In some cases, this predisposition of dread is well deserved. While many landlords are responsible and caring individuals, there are many property owners who dodge their responsibilities of providing the legally required "duty of care" to paying tenants. Landlords choose to be in this position of responsibility and regardless of the relationship with the tenant, they must abide by the law when it comes to repairing damages to a property.

What to Do If A Landlord Won't Make Timely Repairs to Property

If you have a property in need of repair, you must first consult your lease for the proper procedures on how to proceed with your request. Follow the instructions to the letter in your lease for repair requests. Learn whether or not your repair is covered by the terms of your lease, for example, if you damage the property by your own negligence, the Landlord may not be responsible for the repairs. If your lease states that all requests for repairs must be handled in writing, make sure you send it. While this may seem like red tape, most states do not allow landlords to enter the property without a written request for services or a 24 hour notice in writing to the tenant that they plan to enter the property for any reason. It is always in your best interests to send requests in writing with the date of the request. Always keep a copy for your personal records.

Second, you must have a firm understanding of laws in your state. Almost every state has a law of "Habitable Warranty" that specifically outlines any landlord has a duty to provide a tenant with a habitable home fit for occupation. Such state laws protect tenants from potential slum lords. State laws override written and verbal contracts and agreements. If the necessary repairs make the property uninhabitable, the law is on your side in most states regardless of the terms of your lease or contract.

Some states such as Florida give the tenant the right to withhold rent payments to a landlord if repairs go undone. In other states it is illegal to withhold the rent. If you are not familiar with your state law on this issue, it is best to consult a legal professional in your state.

If you have taken the steps in the lease to get a problem repaired and the Landlord has not acted, it is time to send the Landlord an official (or second official) request for repair in writing. The second letter should be sent with a copy of the original request (if retained) and mailed by certified mail with a return receipt. This will give you a legal, court recognized document proving that the request was made and received by the landlord.

It is a criminal act for any Landlord to attempt to evict your for requesting repairs to the property. If you suspect you have this type of callous Landlord, it is imperative to communicate with this landlord in writing only to protect yourself.

From: Wikipedia Commons
From: Wikipedia Commons

Escalating a Case Against a Landlord

At this point, most Landlords will acknowledge your request for repair. If the property owner still refuses to make the requested repairs or dismisses them, it is time to escalate your case.

If your repair is urgent in nature and poses a health or safety risk for you and your family, you will want to take many photos and videos of the problem with the date imprinted from the camera. Take your photos, videos, and copies of your letters to your county or bourough's inspection department. These offices are normally located within the Health and Human Services Division of your local Department of Social Services. For urgent problems that may lead to illness and injury, a county inspector will act quickly to inspect the damages. If it is determined that the necessary repairs are urgent, this agent will have the authority to force the landlord to make the repairs by a certain date or face significant legal punishment.

A Landlord can not be held accountable for natural disasters
A Landlord can not be held accountable for natural disasters | Source

Landlord Responsibility During a Natural Disaster

In the event of a natural disaster such as a flood, fire, or tornado, renters cannot hold the Landlord accountable for the disaster. The loss of personal items may be covered by the tenant's rental insurance, but the Landlord can not be held accountable for the loss of personal items.

When a natural disaster strikes and damages rental property, it is the the Landlord's responsibility to fix the property and make it habitable as soon as possible. The Landlord is not responsible for providing alternate shelter and housing for tenants in this case. Renters have the option of purchasing rental insurance that provide temporary housing and provisions if this should occur.

However, in most states, if a rental unit is destroyed by a natural disaster, the lease becomes void and non-enforceable. A Landlord cannot force a tenant to stay in an unlivable rental property and tenants can not be sued for leaving the property for a habitable property.

Bedbug
Bedbug | Source

Infestation of Cockroaches, Bedbugs, and Rodents

If you sign a rental agreement for a property, it is important to understand before hand whether or not the Landlord will provide scheduled preventative treatments against insects and other pests. If there is no mention of this in your lease, it is reasonable to request this service before signing the contract. In some leases, the responsibility will be mandated to the tenant.

If you move into a home and notice cockroaches, insects, or mouse droppings, it is important to photograph this evidence. If the home is furnished, check the mattresses and furniture for evidence of bed bugs and notify the Landlord immediately if anything is discovered.

If the infestation occurs later on, the fault falls on the tenant. In this case, a landlord may not be responsible for paying for an exterminator and the tenant may be liable for the damage caused by the invading pests.

Illegal Acts of Landlords

Evicting or a tenant for requesting repairs or making an official complaint about conditions.

Entering the property without a 24 hour written notice unless service is requested.

Not revealing that an apartment is infested with cockroaches, bedbugs, and other creatures.

Interfering with a tenants right to "quiet enjoyment" of the property.

Seizing a tenant's property for non-payment of rent. This includes selling the tenant's property to collect unpaid rent and fees.

Providing an uninhabitable property.

Not notifying tenants a property is known to be haunted.

Changing locks on a property for non-payment of rent.

Turning off utilities to threatnen or evict a tenant.

Attempting to evict a tenant without a court order.

Laws vary state to state. Check with a lawyer if you are dealing with any of these activities.

Have You Ever Had a Terrible Landlord?

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Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Michael 

        8 weeks ago

        The place I am currently renting in Hawaii, have a major termite infection you could see the termites eating through the wood, and you also see the droppings. The other tenants and I have told him about the problem and he still haven't came up with a solution to fix. Terminix told him he needs to tent the property and still haven't done any of that. The roof in not even a roof it is a piece of sheet metal that covers it. I really don't think this land lord can keep renting to tenants in these livable conditions.

      • profile image

        AmyAnn 

        3 months ago

        AC outside my window making horrible noise. Prop. Mgmt. Refuses to even address situation , tells me AC is fine. Is it legal for me to pay an outside company to find and document the problem so i can present the info to the manager? Its cheaper for me than breaking a lease.

      • profile image

        Linda Cygan 

        3 months ago

        My landlord is taking forever to fix home after storm.Of course,when it was 1st of month,he said we could go back,when no repairs were done.It was usafe

      • profile image

        Karen morrison 

        3 months ago

        Landlord is evicting me for non payment of 2mos, but won't provide proof thereof. What can I do

      • profile image

        Steven from New Mexico 

        3 months ago

        Landlord has had me living in her house for the past almost 5 years in October with a hole in the roof leaking causing trouble damage and mold to a room and the ceiling in that room Also a leaking water heater which is causing dry wall damage and black mold. And also had an agreement for me to pay her back taxes equal over $3000 they were about to take her house from her and that was the only way to stay living in the house in arrangement for me to buy the house. later a couple years she had back taxes owed once again and I had to pay another 1700 plus In agreement that I would buy the house for a $128000 starting the process in July of 2018. As of July 2018 the landlord came by on the 1st demanding a check written to her on the spot when one was already sent in the mail I wrote her 1 for $1000 for that month's rent and asked her about starting the process for buying the house. On July 3rd 2018 the landlord left a eviction notice on the door at 10:00 pm with out notifying myself stating I had to evacuate the house in 30 days because she no longer wanted to live in Colorado and wanted to live at her house from that point on thus not allowing me to purchase the house and losing out on all the money I have paid in her back taxes

      • profile image

        Wonder 

        3 months ago

        I live in Texas. The owner keeps making "repairs" but they are never done completely or properly. The ground underneath the building I am in keeps shifting and is causing problems such as cracks in the walls and other issues. They have come and filled in the cracks and painted but the building has shifted again and the cracks are back. When I moved in the apartment was already in need of many repairs and have only gotten worse over the years. The new owners want to say I damaged these but I did not. They are frustrated with me because I keep asking them to make needed repairs.

      • profile image

        Kerry mitchell 

        4 months ago

        We live in our own trailer at a mobile home park. I pay lot rent here we are constantly having our water shut off for half days almost 3 or 4 days a week. The pipes in the park are old and leak and break now we have a massive hole in our back yard and under the trailer it's been 2 days and still no one here to fix it. Do they have to pay to relevel my trailer and clean up any mold it might create?

      • profile image

        Shelia 

        4 months ago

        My landlord made up a contract for to pay for allbrepairs and I'm on section8!!! When I at the contract I riped it because I don't think I should be responsible for all repairs!!! I need some advice

      • profile image

        Jennifer holt 

        4 months ago

        I have been living in the same condo for 4 years there has been a leak in my daughter's bedroom for probably that long I found out about it about two and a half years ago and told the landlord she has done nothing. I told her again in December, still nothing I told her again or 3 weeks ago and told her I was going to sue her. Now things have definitely gotten out of control I believe that she took my accordian with my lease and all my receipts in it she also was trying to get the company that was hired to close the wall up where the mold was before the leak was repaired.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        5 months ago from North Carolina

        I would start with your local health department. If it is a wiring issue that may cause a fire or other harm to you, they can force him to take action on your much needed repairs!

      • profile image

        Gina M 

        5 months ago

        If a landlord gives his tenant an eviction notice cause their property is being condemned, do they have to give you your rent back from the 1st of the month cause they gave you the notice 7 days before you have 2 get out? Do they have 2 help find u a place or help w the cost 2 put ur family in a hotel or something? It's their fault for not keeping up w their units.

      • profile image

        Carrie Gray 

        5 months ago

        I rent from a independent rental guy I have told him that the roof leaks over my stove when it rains we have put plastic up to try to stem the flow but hasn't helped much landlord came out said he fixed it but the next hard rain came thru and it's still leaking the wiring is the old aluminum wire and we have been smelling alot of burning smells the sewer pipe it's hooked up to the toilet in our front bathroom it just runs on the ground told the landlord's maintenance guy about all this said he would let the landlord know I have only seen the landlord twice in over a year the roof has been leaking about that long and it has mold growing above where I cook a the sheetrock is crumbling and prices fall onto my stove and in my food that I have to feed my children I don't have the money to relocate and I just got a message from the landlord that said I need to either pay rent or move by the 11th What should I do? Fell like the world is against me

      • profile image

        Kim 

        5 months ago

        Moved into my wst apartment and have had constant problems by mostly iv noticed a hissing sound from my air unit in my living room, shortly after that i have become rilly sick and not knowing why. Then all the sudden my air has quit working and it stays 90° cus im upstairs. I have asked them/ reminded them for the past 3-4 months it hasn't been working and it's becoming unlivable and still no-one has come to fix it and I have no idea what to do.. it's a low income based upstairs and come to realize I haven't been sick cents the air quit. So she told me I need a freon recharge? And I put pieces together to realize I have a freon leak and I'm constantly breathing it getting sick what should I do. Can't get any help. No money to move, nowhere to go..

      • profile image

        Lisa 

        6 months ago

        I live in a Apartment nothing gets fixed and just bandaged. I been without heat since February 2018 but I had problems since I moved in not much hot water toilets not working and when I moved wasn't not informed of cockroaches and bed bugs and the manager doesnt informed new tenants that is so wrong that should too all tenants moving in. They have three different hotels and only one maintenance worker. Like I said I have go to my neighbor too stay warm they don't care fix anything but we all pay rent and it's a low income and disabled and elderly hotel. The manager doesnt fix things because most of the tenants scared of the Manager to make complaints I need too no what actions I need to take on this big slum lord

      • profile image

        Michele Delatore 

        7 months ago

        Hi.

        I live in a apartment ,and i work taking care of the grass and his animals ,and my landlord treats me really bad,i have a writem note stating that I take care of animals in the lawn for my rent I have a bathroom ceiling leak and it's got mold on my walls I try to clean it up I've told the landlord several times about it I live in Florida my landlord don't even let me have a parking space for my friends come and visit me treats me like I'm just some nobody I don't have the money to move what can I do for this

      • profile image

        samantha 

        9 months ago

        i have a few issues..we moved into a trailer at the beginning of the year, we lived on the property in campers and had the opertunity to move into a trailer so we took at the time there wasnt a problem until one night the front bedroom started leaking..i informed my mom and she informed the landlord he said he would fix it or have some one fix it..that was almost 8 months or so..the ac went out during the summer that hasnt been fixed yet, at the end of november i had a baby so when we brought her home my other half and i switched bedrooms with my mom cuz her room was bigger well i come into get everything situated to bring her in and the roof is leaking i unfortuantly am i afraid to bring it to his attention cuz im afraid he will either lie to me and say yeah i'll fix or say you did it on purpose and you fix it..now he isnt the greatest landlord my fear is that he'll realize i said or did something when some one comes out to check these trailers..what do i do or do i get ahold over this? sorry for the long list of issues but im mad

      • profile image

        Mikeee 

        9 months ago

        Be careful with landlords and depreciation. As the house ages and wears the item (aircon, wall, sink so on) looses value quickly until its value is $0. That being said what a landlord can claim in tax or if there sneaky and blame you, the tribunal, is next to nothing. (which make scenes! cant get brand new aircon to replace 20 year old one at others expense) So what will usually happen is the owner of the property will scare you with keeping more then the bond, or expensive repairs. They will make more money scamming for repair costs then they would through tax for depreciation, especially with older homes. Only communicate with the agent or land lord by writing (emails text) be aware a lot of land lords are tax bludgers and try an make a living by claiming all sorts of hand outs. Be respectful and look after the place as if it was yours. Take photos and document everything.

        Good luck

      • profile image

        Jennifer 

        10 months ago

        Hi, I live in a triplex in Oregon. I've lived here for 8 years. We moved in due to family expansion and needed a bigger place. About after a month of getting locked in my bathroom due to a broken door I called the owners to let them know that we needed it fixed. She argued with me telling me that fixing the door would be costly. Finally 6 months later she replaced it. When me and my husband got married we came home to a flooded kitchen. PIPE BROKE! We were with out kitchen water for a month and washed dishes in the bathroom. We have mold due to a broken window and leaking roof. Window kinda got fixed, roof completely fixed but drywall and wood not replaced. I've had a broken refrigerator in my kitchen for 8 months. Faulty electrical wiring that shorts out or almost catches fire. Help me

      • profile image

        Sabrina 

        11 months ago

        Me and my boyfriend have moved into the Cabo San Lucas apartments and when we first got there we noticed a big bubble in the master closet. We told them once we got there and all they did was put this pre mixed concrete mix. And it just made the bulge bigger. Well three weeks ago it was raining hard and I went into the closet to get some clothes. And I had noticed my clothes around the big bulge in the closet were wet. So the next day on Monday I had called to report it and all they did was give me the nova asset management number. I called and they said they made a report and that the apartment can only fix it once they receive that report. Me and my boyfriend constantly go and remind them that it needs to get fixed and that it keeps leaking. Well a few days ago my boyfriend had gone to tell the supervisor and the supervisor had told him he’s not going to fix it, he doesn’t need to spend his money on it and what not. Thursday a guy from nova had came and asked about the problem and I had told him what the supervisor had told my boyfriend. He was upset and took notes about what he said and what he looked like and how long I’ve been reporting this. Now at this point my closet is half way moldy and I constantly have to change the bucket we have about 4/5 times it’s changed in a day.

      • profile image

        Imonaise 

        11 months ago

        I leave in orlando Landon pointe apartment it's been like amounts my house been floored I loss all my furniture my clothes my baby's glosses either in they don't wanna fix anything at all so please I would like to know if I can find some one to help me please

      • profile image

        Linda Nelson 

        12 months ago

        I rent a trailer and the landlord never fix anything when i ask her the roof was leafing and she didn't fix and a storm can and i loss all my clothes and shoes and other things because she didn't do her job who support to pay for my stuff

      • profile image

        Anita Enriquez 

        16 months ago

        I moved in to apartment complex and I been having problems with some kind of bugs that is bitting me and that's is getting on my clothing and other thing. I let the manager know what's going on and I he said they would do it and its been 2 months an nothing has been done yet, I can't sleep with out the light because I start ishying and I had to pay clothes and I had to throw some of my clothing and I can't even buy any furniture because of what is in my apartment. So is any thing I can do because I can't do this any more I am so tried of all this I even painted the apartment with my own money and alone when I moved in it looked clean put with I started to clean and it was so nasty I even took pictures and videoing everything in the apartment and there's something in the apartment, so is there anything I can do i am on housing and I am on disability. So can you help me please because I can't live like this anymore I can't sleep or eat and enjoy my life because I am stressing so much

      • profile image

        Billi-Jo 

        16 months ago

        I live in an apartment complex in Pennsylvania and the front door is to be secure locked door from the outside, the door is and has been broken for over a year. Anyone comes up to the door and just pulls it open . My husband and I have notified the property manager many times and still nothing can we break our lease due to this safety issue

      • profile image

        NF 

        17 months ago

        I have section 8 and have had it for 17 yrs. I am a model section 8 tenant. I do not move around a lot, I pay my share, if Im working my part goes up and if I don't it goes down, either way I pay my share on time. I have had 3 different apt in 17 yrs, first one the wife died and he sold the house and they wanted family to move in, the second one the land lord sold the building and he wanted to renovate all apts and I moved, now I'm in the 3rd one for 6 yrs now and quite frankly I don't really have a problem with the land lord, but if it is by law she fixes it. My problem is my windows and my door is sooooo very drafty and I pay my own heat and I really lose all my heat, I bought curtains heavy duty ones to put by the windows so that it may help and still, it may have helped some but nothing major. I really dont like to bother the land lord, but now the strings have broken on the windows and u can see its from wear and tear, my apt is the last one with these old fashioned windows and now its difficult to open them. I have to put a jar or something underneath it so they stay up. Will section 8 make me move, if she refuses to repair the windows or will they make her repair the windows. Desperate in New jersey. Plus I have a dog and I dont want to be hasty and make it difficult because I want to keep my dog, who is on the lease

      • profile image

        Crys 

        18 months ago

        My landlord said he'd be back after the Thanksgiving and Xmas holidays to fix the floor that's falling in...however he's fixed a neighbours minimal flooring issue and not ours. He's hassled my mother ever since we moved in to go on dates with her and take him out to lunch ect. He's married first off and so is my mother(currently in divorce proceedings) but since she's refused he's now going back on all of his word-of-mouth promises. My wife is deploying for a year this Friday. I've my 82 year old grandmother loving here too since last Oct. And she isn't able toove around a majority of the house as the floor is that bad. Keeps getting worse. I didn't get anything in writing, live in Missouri, and so seems my options could be pretty limited. Now he texted me tonight saying we should have mowed the damn yard, it's trashy ect. When he let us use his mower full well knowing we didn't have one. I think it's retaliation die to not going on dates with my mother. He's wanting 50 dollars to mow the yard now plus full rent this mont of 650. It's becoming a nightmare and similar to a lifetime movie, according to my mother. Idk. But I do know I need help with legal matters. I'm a biomedoal scientist (jus graduated, or would be owning a home otherwise) and have no legal experience whatsoever. Any advice is welcome.

      • profile image

        Carolyn crneck 

        22 months ago

        We are living in a rental unit upon moving in noticed scratching in wall in bathroom, could smell poo.. Fast forward 3 years, we have rodents coming in via kitchen and running under fridge + stove, then underneath couch in livingroom. Tons of feces & urine under couches& cushions. Landlord will not repair / seal the entry were the vermin is coming in. I noticed caulking in corner of kitchen bet cupboard and linoleum. Landlord threatened eviction , will not get exterminator to apt. I do not feel safe in this apt. Rodents are coming in bedroom, saw one at foot of bed and heard scatching in back of couch in bedroom whilst sitting watching TV. Our flusher on toilette was busted because it is made of plastic, landlord repaired plastic lever and used old lever to plug up entry where rodents were coming in!!!!! This did not work as rodents have multiple points of entry in this unit, ie loose baseboards around radiators, underneath kitchen sink where pipe is , seal has big holes around pipe, the weather stripping on front door has a 3 inch circumference hole in it. I have seen 3 rodents enter through hole. Residential tenancy board takes 1 month for a hearing upon receiving application for dispute resolution. This landlord is rude regularly, I called VIHI Enviromental health inspector , he called the landlord + wanted to talk with property owner, but did not get a return call..

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        Jsdosher@gmail.com 

        2 years ago

        Ok so I've been renting a house with option to buy and I moved in November 1st 2015. The house is built around/inter grated into a trailer. The foundation is by no means stable, the floors are weak and in the bathroom as well but with tile were you could cut your feet. Most of the doors don't close properly, they have to be lifted to close. The septic tank doesn't drain and I have to take a water pump and drain it myself twice a week. I can see light through some doors and additions made to the house. I went into the addic and the wiring is just twisted together laying on a tin roof with no insolation, not to mention my sons room is wired in the addic with what looks like speaker wire. My a/c doesn't work properly. I've verbally told the landlords, with no repairs done. I have hired people to fix some issues like the ac witch still isn't fixed and the well pump. Which caused me to fall a month behind on rent which I plan on catching up as well as paying my rent on time. Which other than falling behind a month because of money spent to make some repairs I have been on time. Now they are giving me a 3 day notice. Mind you this isn't all that's wrong with the house/property or the way the landlord harassed us. Any information would help, if any attorneys could do pro bono to help me resolve my problems it'd be like hitting the lottery. I want to buy this place after my lease is up, however I think they would get worse if I force their hands or just not allow me to purchase the property when the contract is up. If you could email me or reply on here. I really need help. I'm a 80% disabled vet with a fixed income and this is extremely stressful. Thank you very much

      • profile image

        shanisha 

        2 years ago

        hello i am looking for some advice me and my family live in Indiana currently we have been living here for almost 3 years the first week we moved in there was a really bad rain the basement flooded and there was feces from the sewer in our basement when we asked the landlord she said that it had never flooded like it did that night she said the occasional puddle that she could sweep in a drain she came over and cleaned up the basement we were grateful. since we have been here the sewer has flooded at least 6 times rain water seeps in through the walls every time it rain there is water in the basement. she never made it apparent to us that we are on flood grounds we figured that out on our own. now we are on a month to month we don't know what to do please help oh did i mention our sons room is in the basement we have lost s much already. its not fair to dread every time it rains what the basement will look like in the end what should we do

      • profile image

        Christy 

        2 years ago

        Just posted in reference to furniture. Live in NC. No rental agreement. Lease etc.

      • profile image

        Christy 

        2 years ago

        Hello. Advice needed on laws. Was renting a room from some friends. They left town and allowed me to stay. Was informed a month and a half ago the house was being sold and when I needed to be out. Was told I could have all furniture in home. Now we have had a disagreement over other things. Am I still entitled to furniture?

      • profile image

        Mary Jo Matey 

        3 years ago

        My home is surrounded by MUD .. no gravel in driveway ,, I have slipped and fallen .. in this pigpen area.. I like a nice clean home and this is now becoming un bearable ... I am on a month to month lease after a one years lease .. A new month to month was never made up ... I am in NC .. what are my rights

        I have asked twice for gravel and he said he'll address it asap twice and nothing ... I have a money order for the rent total for April .. but have not mailed it due to this situation

        he does nothing that I ask ...

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        4 years ago from North Carolina

        Hi Melissa,

        Those time limits would be set by your state. Your local Health Department can tell you the amount of time the landlord has to comply. For anything falling under uninhabitable conditions like electrical issues, the landlord must fix those immediately!

      • profile image

        Robert 

        4 years ago

        My apartment is so cold that I can't stay there,and this is with the heat on,its so cold that I have to sleep fully dressed.

      • profile image

        melissa 

        4 years ago

        how long after sending a certified letter to landlord for repairs, do they have to fix these issues? What is the usual time frame--I live in York Co., PA. There are many electrical issues, chimney falling apart, radon issues, and the basement walls are crumbling and the stones are coming out so you can see light from the outside.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        5 years ago from North Carolina

        Wow AudraLeigh. Many landlords don't have a sense of urgency when it comes to fixing problems. In a case like this, you can complete these repairs and bill the landlord for labor and supplies. That may make him take your complaints seriously. Thanks for reading!

      • profile image

        AudraLeigh 

        5 years ago

        My boyfriend and I live ...Lease free...in an apartment in a house. I moved in after his old roomie moved out. Landlord is never around or available. So...we Bought parts for broken toilet and Micah is fixing it because the landlord is mia. Besides this we have asked him for other minor things verbally. He said he was looking for someone to do the work (a month ago).

        I saw in your great piece that we should send a written order for repairs. Would that work for us in our case. I am so glad I read this tonight...so great!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        5 years ago from North Carolina

        If it is a serious health hazzard, you can still go to your local Health Department. Because having a broken pool fence is a serious risk to the general public, they may intervene. This landlord is putting herself at risk for a very serious lawsuit. Even if she keeps a fence around a pool and a child gets hurt in, the owner can be held accountable. You may want to remind her that it would be her legal liablilty. As far as the squirrels, that is probably something that the landlord/ owner isn't accountable for because it is an act of nature. Hope this helps!

      • profile image

        Venus Rutledge 

        5 years ago

        I rent from my boss. We have never had a contract of any sort. I have told her the things that go wrong and simple things like replacing a toilet flapper or a faucet we do our selves with no deduction from our rent and obviously saving her money from calling a plumber! A couple of times she paid for the parts needed! Now we have a larger problem....Living in Florida of course we have a pool that is caged. The screening is rotten from the years and I have told her this several times. She had a screening folk come out to estimate replacement but with no avail on her part. We now have tree rats (squirrels) coming in and pooping all around the pool as well as my disabled husband trying to chase them out during the day while I'm at work! THIS IS DISGUSTING, not to mention unhealthy. What can one do with no contract and all is verbal in Florida?

      • midget38 profile image

        Michelle Liew 

        5 years ago from Singapore

        My parents once rented a house out to people who literally wrecked the entire sofa and other things in the house. I guess this is a two way street....if both parties need to be aware of laws present and photograph any evidence in case anything untoward happens. It can be a really dicey issue if not handled well, and thanks for bringing it to light!! Sharing.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        I don't understand why landlords don't want to repair their property either but it must be because they don't have to live there. I would much rather my tenenats tell me about a problem too, especially before they try to fix it themselves, epecially when it is a problem involving water. Thanks so much for sharing that here Jellygator!

      • jellygator profile image

        jellygator 

        6 years ago from USA

        Great hub! I have had two run-ins with landlords, then I became one.

        In the first instance, I had to get help from Legal Aid in the state where I lived due to the landlord hiding a SEVERE cockroach problem. The instructions they gave me were exactly the same as you've described here.

        In the second case, it did escalate and I had to go to city inspectors, which got action FAST! Unfortunately, the actions taken shattered the foundation of the property, creating a worse problem. I asked to be let out of my lease and they granted me permission and gave me my security deposit back.

        As a landlord, I cannot understand why a property owner wouldn't want to keep their property in great condition. I truly appreciate it when a tenant tells me repairs are needed, because it saves me a lot of money in the long run if I can fix a problem while it's still small.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        I am sad to hear there are bad landlords in Canada too Rolly. Your solution is a great one and a good thing for those with the skills to do. Thanks so much for your insightful comment.

      • Rolly A Chabot profile image

        Rolly A Chabot 

        6 years ago from Alberta Canada

        Hi Tammy... all great points and I must say I have experienced some terrible and yet some gracious landlords over my years. The worst times were those times when I did not have much choice. My way was to do the repair and refuse to pay the rent at much inflated hourly rate... lol... That is the other side of me... injustice is something I will not stand for. Our laws are much different here in Canada. The tenant now is very much held accountable...

        Hugs from Canada

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Thanks dwachira. I am glad you USED to be in this situation. Thanks for the comment!

      • dwachira profile image

        [ Danson Wachira ] 

        6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

        Thanks tammyswallow for such great tips, i once found myself in such a problem, i wish i had these tips back then. Voted up, useful and shared.

      • Etherealenigma profile image

        Sandra M. Urquhart 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Thank you. I will look into that.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Hi Etherealenigma,

        Wow.. what a question. If your landlord knows you are doing this and he has a notice sent to you by email (writing), you may be putting yourself in a bad situation. Here is why... if you are renting a home or an apartment and anything happens to the big items such as the refridgerator, furnace, heater, air conditioner, refridgerator, appliances (if furnished), washer, dryer, or water heater- most of these items will be covered while you are in the apartment and when you leave the apartment under "normal wear and tear." However, this landlord can now claim that any thing that malfunctions while you are there or when you leave is a result of your confessed manipulation of the fuse box. Depending on how your lease is written (and this isn't something that is normally addressed in standard leases), you will be held responsible for "damages." (unfortunatley the law works under reasonable conclusions).

        Here is an example to consider. If you have an air conditioning system in your home and it breaks due to age, malfunction, or if it freezes up due to you turning the power on and off it is most likely that you can be held accountable for a new system (which can run as high as $10,000). If you have a shady landlord, you can be certain that he or she will claim that the system failure is a result of "damage" caused by you turning the fuses on and off. This could be possible for every appliance and fixture such as the water heater. Because the law tends to favor the landlord, the burden of proof that it didn't occur because of your actions will be on you and it could be quite difficult to prove that turning the power supply on and off every day didn't cause these problems.

        If you leave the apartment without any items being damaged and worn out, he can't punish you or charge you for something that isn't broken. You are right to have an electrician inspect the power box when you leave. You can also take videos of it working in proper order and keep them in the event he does take you to court.

        You may want to consider purchasing a device such as an Infinisave Power Saver that will give you similar results in savings (probably not as much) and send your landlord a written notice that you are no longer turning the fuses on and off and give him a copy of the reciept. This may alleviate some of your liability and appease this landlord. Hope this helps!

      • Etherealenigma profile image

        Sandra M. Urquhart 

        6 years ago from Florida

        Hi Tammy,

        I have a question. My landlord is having a fit over the fact that I shut the switches for the current in the fuse box off on a regular basis daily. I have found that by cutting the current coming into the house's grid, I save about $100 per month. He insists that this will cause the switches to blow, however, the lady at the family center that told me about this strategy, said she's been doing it for 5 years and has yet to have a problem with the fuses blowing. She said that she asked her electrician the cost of repairing it, and he said $300. When she added up the costs versus what she was saving, she said it was worth it because she was saving $1200/year in electrical costs.

        I explained all this to the landlord and told him that if there was damage, I would be willing to pay. However, the landlord recently sent me an email saying he was simply going to charge me for this when I move, but I don't think he can charge me if he has no proof of damage to the box or switches. So I'm thinking that I will get an electrician to check those fuses before I move and get a written statement of their functionality in case he does simply try to blanketly charge me. I'm thinking that if he charges me for it, and there is no damage, I can take him to small claims, right?

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Good to see you billybuc. I am glad you had good experiences. It is a big crapshoot. There is no reporting agency for bad landlords like there is for bad tenants. Thanks for your visit.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        6 years ago from Olympia, WA

        I have been very, very lucky with regards to landlords. My son on the other hand has had problems in the past. It really is a crap shoot whether you get a good one or not, but if you get one of the bad one, this hub is a great resource of information. Passing this on to friends who need it.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        I am glad it you find it useful Duchess O'Blunt! I just hope you will never need this advice. Thanks for visiting!

      • profile image

        Duchess OBlunt 

        6 years ago

        Both the hub and the comments have given me much food for thought. We have owned for many many years, and now that we are in a position to rent again - at least temporarily - this is a handy article for me. Good timing all around. Rated up!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        That is a shame lyricwriter. That is horrible landlord behavior. They could get into serious trouble with the health department. I am glad you found this useful and I appreciate you sharing that story.

      • thelyricwriter profile image

        Richard Ricky Hale 

        6 years ago from West Virginia

        Tammy, this is a very useful guidelines for renters. Very well written, easy to read, and has a lot of useful information. I have had past issues with landlords myself. Long story short, they wouldn't fix nothing. The entire building was infested with roaches. We paid $700 to move in and left within a month. That entire building should be shut down. Very useful information that every renter should know.

      • ps-orbis profile image

        ps-orbis 

        6 years ago

        You've done a really great job. I love your lenses, especially this one. Thank you for sharing :D

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Thank you so much audraleigh. That is very kind of you. I am sorry you had a bad experience wih landlords. I appreciate your visit.

      • profile image

        iamaudraleigh 

        6 years ago

        I always admire you for your formatting in your hubs. They are easy to follow and look like elite publications! I have had plenty of landlord issues in the past. There is aalways red tape too. I was lucky to get out of paying $75 for taking my name off of a lease. Nowhere in the rental agreement could prove the fee. You are an incredible writer and should submit this on legal sites! Great work Tammy!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Wow Nell. A crooked landlord would love to rent him a property. Some rentals are good for those who don't want to deal with a yard or home repairs. It isn't something good for those who are inexperienced to get into without some coaching. I am amazed by how many college students are commenting about how they have been taken advantage of. I hope he will read it and get a basic understanding of what he may be getting into. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        6 years ago from England

        The trouble is with my brother, he is so innocent, he wants to move into a rented apartment, and I keep saying to him just buy for goodness sake! he doesn't realise just how much trouble he will or could have with a landlord. I have a friend who moved into a house that was virtually falling down! one day in, the roof caved in and flooded the kitchen! the landlord was useless and they had to move out, it makes me shudder to think that my brother may go through something like this, I know not all of them are crooks but the majority of them are, well done for great advice, I am going to push my brothers nose to the screen to read it! thanks, nell

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        You said it well Rajan Jolly. Landlords have the potential to really harm tenants and deny them of their rights. Tenants need to be educated in the laws so they can protect themselves. Thanks so much for your visit.

      • Squeesh profile image

        Squeesh 

        6 years ago from United States

        Amazing Hub! Great information to know in those bad situations! thanks! Shared voted up and useful!

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

        Excellent stuff Tammy and will come in very handy for those who are facing non cooperative landlords. Most landlords are a law unto themselves and become quite menacing when faced with the prospect of legal action.

        Voted up, useful and shared.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Thanks so much Lord De Cross. It is a shame that tenants don't know their rights or are afraid to pursue them due to bad landlords. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      • Lord De Cross profile image

        Joseph De Cross 

        6 years ago from New York

        Tammy, catching up with some good articles from you. This hub is superb! Unfortunately most landlords think they own your life by asking those 2 months security deposit. With bad weather and the economy, they want to avoid responsabilities. This will help so many tenants that usually face a cold clerk at the CourtHouse, when it comes time to find legal help and protect the tenants rights. Voted up!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Thanks so much Thelma Alberts. Hope you have an awesome weekend too!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        I appreciate that fcmosher!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Thanks Alocsin. I am glad your experiences have been positive ones.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        6 years ago from Germany

        Very good advice and very informative hub. Thanks for sharing and for following me on twitter. Have a great weekend!

      • fcmosher profile image

        FCM 

        6 years ago from near the Equator

        Sharp lens! Voted up and followed. Good work here.

      • alocsin profile image

        alocsin 

        6 years ago from Orange County, CA

        Excellent advice for all the renters, Tammy. I've been fortunate that all my landlords have been professional management companies who complied with the law in regard to repairs. Voting this Up and Useful.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Thanks so much RealHouseWife. I hope it will help them. :)

      • RealHousewife profile image

        Kelly Umphenour 

        6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        I need this right NOW for a family member - thanks you for your hard work on this!!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        I am glad you got a good one unknown spy! Thanks for your visit.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Thanks so much Mhatter99. I am flattered! Thanks for reading!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Thanks for reading Josh. The best things any renter can do is take photos when they move into a property, get a good renter's insurance policy, and learn what your rights are. Thanks for reading and sharing!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        Yikes RunningDeer! Before you leave make sure you review your lease to see what the consequences are for losing a deposit. Once you get it empty and clean, take lots of pictures and if you can, compare them to any pre move in photos that you have. If this landlord does not return your deposit, show him your photos and ask what the reasoning is. These landlords prey on college students who usually don't know the law and they think you won't standup for yourself. Once they see you know what your rights are and you are ready to enforce them, they will probably not try to rip you off.

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        You are right Natasha- so many people are afraid to look into their rights and complain because they think the landlord will make their live very difficult. People with these problems should really contact the city and the historical districts of Charleston since they depend so much on tourism. That is a shame that is happening widescale in such a beautiful city.

      • unknown spy profile image

        Not Found 

        6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

        Been living on a boarding house these past few years since Im working far away from home. Fortunately, my landlord keeps the building neat and clean. make repairs on all the damages and twice a week cleaning and scrubbing.

        Very useful info here Tammy!

      • Mhatter99 profile image

        Martin Kloess 

        6 years ago from San Francisco

        OMG - I thought I'd never use that (omg). but this, well written, article brought it out. Twice!

      • josh3418 profile image

        Joshua Zerbini 

        6 years ago from Pennsylvania

        Tammy, this is very useful for me! I am living with my twin brother and we have a landlord. Fortunately nothing has happened yet, but that seems to be when things do happen :) So thanks for this wealth of information Tammy! I really appreciate it, voted up and several more and sharing!

      • RunningDeer profile image

        RunningDeer 

        6 years ago from Iowa

        I have a horrible landlord right now. It's just one of those big companies who don't care about their properties. They look at me and just see a college kid and blow me off. I've also heard terrible things about them not giving any deposits back whatsoever. We haven't done a thing to this place, so it will be interesting to see what happens next month when we turn the place back over to them.

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 

        6 years ago from Hawaii

        There is mold growing. And I can tell the foundation has...moved since I started living here. I will definitely take (more) photos, and my lawyer has record of writing him twice requesting the repairs be made. I also have video that I sent the lawyer. The upstairs tenants changed last month and the landlord had a plumber here then. I hoped he would make the repairs at that time, but he didn't. At this point, even if I had a letter sent that could potentially trigger breaking the lease, I would still be out July rent, so I'm just going to not bother with it and move out at my leisure after my new lease starts on the 17th.

        Sadly, these sorts of issues are very common in Charleston. Many of these houses are falling over or unsafe, and college kids don't know any better. They just don't realize they have rights! When I was a senior in college and moved out of my apartment, I had money taken out of my deposit and didn't know for years that the landlord could legally without the money he hadn't given back to me.

        Thanks, again, for your hub!

      • tammyswallow profile imageAUTHOR

        Tammy 

        6 years ago from North Carolina

        That is terrible Natasha! Water can ruin the foundation of that house. If you were staying you could go to your local Health Department and get an inspection. They would force him to repair that leak. The mold it causes is so harmful. I do hope this hub helps someone. Thanks for sharing and I hope you get out of that house! Make sure when you leave you have proof that you requested the leak to be fixed and get lots of photos and videos in case this landlord tries to make you pay for this leak.

      • Natashalh profile image

        Natasha 

        6 years ago from Hawaii

        I could actually start the process of breaking my lease right now because my landlord won't make repairs he needs to. A water pipe is leaking and causing flooding under the house. It's been that way for months. I've even had a lawyer contact him. Fortunately, I'm moving in July, anyway, and don't feel like going through the hassle, especially since I'll probably have to take him to court for my deposit.

        So many tenants do not realize their rights - I hope someone can put this information to good use!

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