When it comes to making repairs on a rented accommodation tenants have a tough time as they are not owners to take remedial action at once. They have to route the grievance or complaint to the landlord and wait for suitable action or be disappointed when no action follows.
Types of Repairs
House repairs are of many kinds including minor ones that bother the habitability of a home. Generally a lease agreement will be candid on how to address the issue of repairs and how a tenant needs to coordinate with the land lord.
Emergency repairs need urgent and they include the following
- Gas leaks
- Heating Problems
- Cooling system problems
- Broken Windows and Doors
For all these the landlords need to be contacted on the given telephone number to report the emergency.
Then there are repairs with no great bearing on a tenant’s health, safety or the habitability. They include:
- Water heater malfunction
- Defective garbage disposal
- Dishwasher problem
- Clogged drain
- Other Minor Problems
Then there are problems that are but nuisance and not requiring any immediate attention:
- Peeling paint
- Pest infestations
- Lighting problems
Reporting the Demand for Repair
When a repair is due, the tenant must follow the landlord’s instructions given at the start of the tenancy. If it is an emergency he can use the emergency number that the landlord has provided.
It is important to follow up all verbal requests with a written request outlining the emergency and keeping a record of all correspondence made to the landlord, certified mails and return receipts so that future reference is easy. If the landlord is refusing to take action the letter highlighting the repair can be kept as a proof so that there is record that the landlord was apprised of the situation categorically.
Repair Request Letter
The body of a sample repair request letter will have the following points:
- The current date
- A brief of the problem
- Request for repair
- Landlord Name
- Landlord Address
- Landlord City, State and Zip Code
Body of the Letter
The issue of repair must be politely notified to the landlord as below. A typical will be like this
Dear (Landlord’s Name):
- On (put date) the (Give description of the problem) I had notified you of the problem, by telephone, on (date). During the conversation you informed me that (resolution suggested by the landlord). So, please consider this letter as a follow-up to my initial telephone call about the problem and a confirmation about your promise to remedy the situation by (date).
(Signature of Tenant)
If a landlord is deliberately ignoring the reported problem of a tenant and not taking up the matter in its due seriousness within a reasonable time there are remedies that a tenant can pursue. It depends upon the place of residence and laws applicable there.
Deduct from Rent
The simple remedy is to get the repairs done by a professional and deduct that cost from the next month’s rent. In some states the amount for repairs has to be locked in an escrow account.
The methodology of taking legally prescribed remedy involves the following mandatory steps.
- Preparation of three estimates of repair to be done.
- Mailing the estimates to the landlord via registered mail with a return receipt obtained.
- Enclosing a note informing the landlord repairs are due and in case they could not be carried out before a certain date, the tenant has the liberty to get the repairs done and deduct that amount from the rent of following month.
- Maintaining all the receipts of the work after ensuring that the contractor puts the relevant dates on them.
- Mailing the copies of the receipts with the rent amount after deduction.
A landlord is accountable to the repair of any item that poses a threat to the health or safety of the tenant. That being the case a landlord failing to respond to requests for repair can force a tenant to walk out of the tenancy.
This action by the tenant can follow after a written notice to the landlord explaining the decision to vacate the rental. Quoting the relevant law governing the landlord-tenant ties for procedures will be helpful. So, when you find a property to rent in London it is better to have these tips in mind so that when faced with issues of repair you can manage it amicably.