More Questions About AWOL Landlords

Here at TrustDALE, one of the most common complaints we hear about from consumers is unresponsive landlords. There are laws that govern the landlord-tenant relationship, and your lease is the formal contract that may spell out exactly who is responsible for what. Recently, we heard from three different consumers with the same general problem.

Carolyn told us that she’s had a leak for almost a year. She first notified her building manager on February 3, 2021 and months later the leak has still has not been repaired. After all this time letting the leak continue, Carolyn’s apartment is now full of mold, and the landlord will still not fix the problem.

Leon has a similar issue, and it looks like his landlord has been withholding repairs. He has been emailing the leasing manager, but all he gets in response are broken promises. He still has not had his complaints addressed or repaired.

Allison told us about the trouble she is having with her landlord. She rents a home, and over time a large crack has developed in the foundation. The landscaping is also dangerously overgrown, making the house look abandoned or even haunted. And the whole house smells of mold. She has reached out to her landlord, but the response has been to do nothing.

What to Do With an Unresponsive Landlord

If your landlord or leasing manager is playing hard to get, you have a few options to get the ball rolling. First, check your lease agreement. You can often find details about what the landlord is and is not responsible for, and that can be your ammunition as you move forward.

If the landlord is ducking out of repairs that they are required to make according to the lease, you can take them to small claims court to get a judge’s order to make the needed repairs. It is a big step and may have a souring effect on your relationship with your landlord, but that relationship is governed by laws and the courts exist to enforce the laws.

Before going to court, you could try calling the local building inspector. Landlords are required to keep their properties up to code. That includes keeping the property in good and safe repair as well as keeping heat, electrical, and plumbing systems up to code. A visit from the local inspector may be all it takes to motivate a recalcitrant landlord to do their job.

As a last resort, you could move out, but that is a risky move. If you are in the middle of your lease term, the lease may require you to pay for some or all of the remaining rent on the lease period. Also, breaking a lease now may make it harder to find a lease in the future.

Before you move out, contact TrustDALE. We see landlord-tenant problems all the time, and often we are able to help. The most important thing you can do to ensure you get results is to document everything. Communicate with your landlord in writing, such as by email, so there is a clear record of when and what communications you had. Include pictures and even videos of the problem. The more documentation you have, the more able TrustDALE is to help. We’ve helped hundreds of consumers with landlord issues, and we may be able to help you, too!

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