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What To Do If Your Landlord Won't Make Repairs

Learn what you can do if you've followed all the steps on this page, but your landlord still won't make repairs. 

You should not make repairs that your landlord is legally required to fix, such as the required fixes listed here

For minor repairs, you can make a written agreement with your landlord that lists the problems you want to fix. The agreement must include fair payment to you for the repair.

Important! Do not make any repairs yourself unless the landlord gives you written permission.

Maybe, but it can be risky. Before you stop paying rent, talk to a lawyer. If you stop paying all or some of your rent, your landlord could give you a termination notice to start an eviction case. 

A lawyer can tell you: 

  • If you have the right to withhold rent or subtract the cost of repairs from your rent, and 
  • How to get money for the time you had to live with the problem.

Yes. You can sue to get back some of the rent you paid and to be compensated for any property damage. 

Tip: You don't need a lawyer to sue your landlord if you're asking for less than $10,000. You can file a claim for less than $10,000 in Small Claims Court without a lawyer's help.

You can't sue your landlord if: 

  • You, someone you live with, or a guest caused the problem, or

  • You didn't give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem.

The amount of money you can ask for depends on your situation. For example, you could ask your landlord to compensate you for:

  • Property damaged by a water leak,
  • Spoiled food in a broken refrigerator, or
  • Other expenses you had to pay.

But if you want to sue for these kinds of damages, you must have proof of the damage. Proof can be pictures, receipts for replacements, or receipts for other expenses you paid due to the problem.

If you want to take your landlord to Small Claims Court, go here for more information.

Yes. If your landlord refuses to make legally-required repairs, you can end your rental agreement. 

To do this, you must give your landlord a written notice describing the needed repairs. The notice must:

  • Be personally delivered to your landlord or sent by regular, first-class mail. 
  • Say you will move out if the landlord does not make the repairs in 30 days (or 33 days if you mail the notice), and
  • List the specific date you will move out.

Be sure to keep a copy of the notice!

Important! Make sure you have a place to move before you tell your landlord you are ending your agreement. If you give your landlord a notice that you’re moving out, and then don’t move out, your landlord can evict you. You cannot take back your written notice telling the landlord that you’re moving out, unless the landlord agrees in writing.

No. It is against the law for your landlord to retaliate. Retaliate means to treat you differently or punish you because you asked for repairs. But retaliation is hard to prove. This is why it is important to keep written records of everything that happens.

  • Get legal help;
  • Contact code enforcement, or a building, health, or fire inspector (and keep a copy of your communications with them); or
  • Ask your landlord to go to neighborhood mediation with you to solve the problem.

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