What can you do if your landlord ignores repeated complaints about needed repairs?

Asked by Trulia Atlanta, Atlanta, GA Wed Apr 17, 2013

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Michelle’s answer
Michelle, Renter, Montgomery, AL
Wed Apr 24, 2013
I've been able to solve this problem by calling the Fire Department. They did a survey of the whole property and submitted a page-long list of things that needed to be fixed in a month. If my landlord did not comply, then we were able to break the lease with no downfalls.
0 votes
Bruce Ailion, Agent, Marietta, GA
Wed Apr 17, 2013
To some extent it depends on the type of repairs. There is an implied covenant of habitably: heat in the winter, possibly air conditioning in the summer, water, safe electric. The failure to provide these services may be a material breach of the landlord’s obligations and you may be able to move and sue your landlord for damages. A missing screen, number missing from the mailbox, dripping faucet while inconvenient are not grounds for leaving the property. You should address these issues in writing, sending by certified mail.

Withholding rent may get your landlords attention, but may be harmful to you. Lenders today require 12 months proof of on time rental payments not paying your landlord can cause damage to your credit, and make you ineligible to purchase a home.

You have the option of paying rent into a court registry, a broker’s escrow account, or an attorney's escrow account provided you notify your landlord you are doing so. Offering the landlord an opportunity to correct the issues within a certain period of time or you will have the work completed by a reputable firm and offset the costs against rent. Any such activity may have adverse consequences.

Your best option is to send your landlord a certified letter outlining the problem, provide an deadline for the issue to be corrected, and state what your intention are if the issues are not resolved.

Prior to taking that action consult a real estate attorney fully familiar with your issues for additional advice.

Bruce Ailion,
RE/MAX Greater Atlanta
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1 vote
Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Tue Apr 23, 2013
You have a few options:

1 Photo document the items in need of repair

2. If the issue is a health and safety issue, you can contact the department of health or the city building and safety department. They will document problem and instruct them that the repairs need to be done.

Best of luck to you!!!

Kawain Payne, Realtor.
0 votes
Realtor Carm…, Agent, Marietta, GA
Wed Apr 17, 2013
I am sorry you are facing that uncomfortable situation. There might be several options for you depending on your ultimate goal. Do you want to spend your time and energy fighting the landlord or is your wellbeing and peace of mind more important for you? If you are looking to move out, seek legal advice before breaking the lease. Quick tip, search on line for Constructive Eviction definition.
0 votes
Michael Conn…, , Atlanta, GA
Wed Apr 17, 2013
The answer lies in the lease. There are some circumstances where a tenant may withold payment of rent to the landlord but would have to show proof if rent ring deposited into a designated trust account - some leases also allow repairs to be made by tenant and deducted from rent, but there are usually restrictions based on type and cost of repairs - at the end of the day you should have a professional review you lease, and all communication needs to be documented and recorded
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