Tenants can run into difficult landlords who refuse to take responsibility for the properties that they manage by fixing issues that exist within the apartment. If you are a tenant who has run into this issue you should document all disputes with the landlord as they take place and take pictures of everything that is damaged due to no fault of your own.
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Put the dispute you have with the landlord in writing. Create a detailed letter to the landlord explaining what your tenant complaints are and document each complaint. Take pictures of whatever is broken and attach a copy to the landlord’s letter. Ask the landlord to fix the problem and give him a set amount of time to fix it, say 30 days. Send the letter of complaint and copies of the pictures via certified mail to ensure the landlord receives them.
Call the landlord to confirm that she received the letter and ask when she will fix the problem. If the landlord says that she will fix it by a certain date and time, document the conversation in writing and send a copy of the documentation to the landlord. This documentation should be a simple letter stating “Per our conversation you stated that the broken item would be fixed by this date and time.” Send the follow-up letter describing your conversation with the landlord via certified mail so the landlord cannot claim she did not receive it.
Place your complaint to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. File the complaint at their website (http://www.hud.gov/complaints/) or by calling them at 800-333-4636. HUD will investigate your report and inform the landlord that the investigation is taking place.
Report the landlord and his actions to the Better Business Bureau through their website (see References). Tell the landlord that you have filed a complaint and inform her that you will follow up by suing her if she does not follow the Fair Housing Act.
File suit against your landlord at the circuit county courthouse level if the landlord does not fix the issues. This can be done by filing a petition in the small claims court. Consult a lawyer if you decide to take action against your landlord for not fixing the problem.
Tips and warnings
- Keep copies of all documentation that you send to the landlord.
- Document all phone conversations and conversations that you have in person by writing down the conversation and sending it to the landlord.
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