If you’re a renter, chances are you’ve been in a situation where you’ve had maintenance issues that you’ve reported but still haven’t been fixed after weeks of increasingly hostile emails and phone conversations.
It seems like your landlord is content to collect rent and ignore you. While it might seem like you should withhold rent, you could still face eviction. It’s important keep paying rent as usual but understand that you do have several options available to you.
Avoid this situation in the first place by always renting from a reputable property management company.
The first thing you should do is document everything. Take photos of any issues and send them in an email with your request. While this is a frustrating situation, keep your communication civil and professional. Follow up your email if you haven’t heard back in a few days. A phone call works, but if you only get voicemail, send another email. You’ll want to establish a “paper trail” in case you need to take your landlord to a small claims court.
Don’t just assume that your landlord is trying to ignore your issues. The landlord may be getting quotes from contractors to fix the damage. The important thing is to communicate and be understanding. Landlords often have several properties they manage, and if you don’t have a life-threatening issue, they might have your request filed as low priority. A property management company will often have a better response rate because they’ve got more staff to deal with tenants and will have on-staff maintenance.
Study your rights to the best of your ability. Property management companies know and follow the law very well, but private landlords might not be up to date. Understanding your rights will give you an advantage when you’re talking to your landlord. It shows that you’re prepared and should be taken seriously, and it might give you an alternative option that you haven’t considered.
You might have a landlord that is dragging their feet on purpose hoping your request will go away, or maybe they don’t plan on resolving your issue at all. In that case, you might have to take them to small claims court. If your communication with the landlord is documented, you’re going to be in a better position than claiming you contacted them three months ago and had not received a response without evidence. You’ll still have to pay your rent, but the court can hold the money in an account until the repairs are completed. When the repairs are done, the court will release the funds.
This isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, but keep in mind that going through the proper channels is essential for you if you don’t want to get evicted. Having an eviction can prevent you from getting another place to rent. Protect yourself from inadequate landlords by renting from trusted property management companies. Contact JMZ Management to find a home managed by experienced and professional staff.