When a person is renting a house, apartment, condominium or office space, the property owner or landlord is usually responsible to making any repairs and the general upkeep of the property.
However, the tenant should check his or her rental or lease contract to make sure who is responsible for repairs on the property and the procedure for getting repairs.
Property Needs Repair
If the property needs repair, the tenant should send a repair request letter to the landlord or owner that gives the details of the problem and reminds the landlord that it his or her duty to pay for the repairs.
Before sending a formal letter, it is recommended to call the landlord to inform him or her about the problem. The letter is mainly for the tenant to have proof that the repair was requested and to set a formal time frame for when the repairs need to be done.
The letter should be dated, because the tenant will be requesting the repairs be done within a certain time from the date of the letter. For example, it may say that the tenant expects the plumbing to be fixed within five days of the date of the letter, or of the date the landlord receives the letter.
Some states have laws that deal with the amount of time a landlord has to repair a property. It could be not more than 24 hours for hot or cold water, heat or electricity and not more than 72 hours for a refrigerator, oven or toilet.
Other things should be fixed within 10 days. If the landlord or owner does not do the repairs in time, the tenant may have the legal right to break the lease with no penalty. However, this usually only applies to substantial repairs.
The landlord or owner should be addressed formally. Even if the tenant is on a first-name basis with the landlord, the letter should still be addressed to his or her formal name such as Mr. Smith or Ms. Jones.
The tone of the letter should be friendly and polite even if the tenant is angry and frustrated. It will not help the situation to be rude or express criticism in this letter.
Explain the Problem
The letter should clearly explain the problem and any things the tenant has done to try to fix it. In some cases, the tenant can spend for fixing a problem and send the bill to the landlord. If this is the case, it should be written in the contract.
In the beginning of the letter the tenant should state his or her name and give the reason for the letter. The letter should also include a cost estimate for the repairs. If this means getting a quote from a plumber or carpenter, and the tenant is charged for the quote, they should tell the landlord.
Below is a sample tenant repair request letter. It should be addressed to the proper person, which could be an individual or a property manager.
If the tenant doesn’t know the name of the property manager, they can call the real estate company that owns the property and ask. The letter should be sent by certified mail to provide proof of delivery. The tenant should keep a copy of the letter in the event that they later want to break their lease.
Sample Tenant Repair Request Letter
Name of Tenant
Address of Tenant
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Landlord
Address of Landlord
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Request for repairs
Dear Name of Landlord:
I rent the house at ADDRESS and have been your tenant for the past five years. According to my lease contract, you are responsible for any repairs that are required in the house.
I spoke to you yesterday afternoon about my clogged kitchen drain. I have tried every simple remedy to get it unclogged and nothing works. I believe the problem is because of the pipes, not simply stuck food.
Therefore, a plumber is needed to handle the problem. I called Name of Plumbing Company to look at the sink, and they gave me a free estimate to fix the problem. It was $75, and I have enclosed a copy.
Since I can’t use the kitchen sink, I have been washing my dishes with my backyard hose and a bucket. I would appreciate it if you could send a plumber here within two days of the date that you receive this letter, as my mother is coming in a week on DATE for a two week visit.
Please let me know when the plumber will come, so I can arrange to be home. I will withhold rent in an escrow account until the problem is solved. I can be reached at Phone Number.
Thank you for attending to this as soon as possible.
Signature of Tenant
Printed Name of Tenant
Enclosed: copy of repair estimate