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Requesting a Repair in Writing

The best way to get your landlord to fix something is to ask clearly and politely, and preferably in writing.

You can't take advantage of your right to repairs if you don't make your landlord aware of problems and give him or her a reasonable amount of time to fix them. Sure, you can let them know when you pass them in the hall, or casually over the phone, but if it ever gets to a point where they're ignoring you then verbal communication won't be much help because you won't be able to prove it happened.

At the very least, you should keep your communications in writing via text or email. The best course of action is actually to send them a written letter via snail mail with the return receipt requested so that you can prove they got it.

Documenting the problem
Sending written requests

Documentation of the problem

If you're concerned about anything in your apartment not getting fixed, then you should be thinking about a well-documented description of the problem and everything you did to try and get it fixed. Take careful photos and video of whatever is happening and store them somewhere safe.

If the problem is related to a basic service like plumbing or heat then you should call your local housing inspectors and have them come to your building to record the problem.

Sending a request

Send your landlord a written letter via USPS with return-receipt requested. You can share links to any videos or photos or include them in the envelope. If you involved city officials then make sure to say so in your letter and include the identification number of the case in a prominent location on your letter.

Here's what you should include in your letter:

Landlord's name
Landlord's address

Re: Request for Repairs
Buildings department case ID #:
I am experiencing the following problems in my home: __ __ __.

Your signature
Your name
Your address

After you've made your request you need to give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the repair.

During this waiting period, pretty much all you can do is carefully document the (continued) problem as well as any correspondence you get from your landlord.

Next steps

Each state has different laws about what your landlord has to fix, how long they have to fix it and whether or not you can stop paying rent or pay less rent until they fix a problem. Before you do anything else, figure out what's up where you live.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.

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