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Steps to Dealing with an Apartment Problem

To resolve problems you find with your residence, talk to your landlord/manager in a friendly way when you need something (this is always recommended). Tell her about problems as soon as they happen, and be reasonable about what you expect her to do. We have developed the following steps when you have a problem:

1. Call the property manager or landlord. When you notice a problem, contact the landlord or management company immediately. Most will want to know about problems as soon as possible. For example, reporting a leak in the roof as soon as you notice it can stop a small repair from turning into a huge, expensive one. Make sure to write down the date, time and person that you called or spoke. You may need that information later.

2. Write a note. If the problem isn’t fixed, send a letter reminding your landlord of the problem and when you called. Ask for an update on when the problem will be fixed.

3. Prepare a formal letter. If the problem still isn’t fixed, write a formal letter demanding that the landlord fix the problem. Explain what you’ll do if the landlord does not fix it. In some areas, you can tell the landlord that you will have the work done, and then you will subtract the cost from the rent. Consult a tenants’ rights group before writing this letter (read on to learn how to find a tenant’s rights group). Send the letter by certified mail and keep a copy.

4. Seek help. There are different kinds of assistance that may be available in your community to help you resolve disputes with your manager/landlord

    Mediation services. Many communities across the country offer free services to help tenants and landlords solve disagreements. These programs are listed in the phone book under “mediation,” “neighborhood justice center,” or “dispute resolution service.”
    Tenants’ groups. Tenants’ groups can guide you through a landlord dispute. Look under “Tenants” in the phone book. Visit our Tenant’s links to find out more information.
    Real estate lawyers. If your problem isn’t solved by the above steps, you may have to hire a lawyer. If you meet the income standards, you may qualify for free legal services. Visit our Legal section to find a specialized real estate attorney in your area.

5. Break the lease. In many places, you can break your lease if your landlord doesn’t fix the problem after a warning. Keep in mind that a lease is a legal contract, so get advice from a lawyer or a tenants’ rights group before you decide to break it.

6. Start Fresh. Come back to our website and start the apartment searching process over again. We have everything you need to help you put this place behind you and help you find a new place that is right for you.

Following the steps above should help you deal with problems with your apartment and may help you avoid future Lanlord-Tenant issues and problems.

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