How To Get A Landlord To Deal With Problems
Getting a landlord to deal with problems is straightforward if you have a good and conscientious landlord. If you don't have one, it can be very difficult.
The key thing is to be very organised when you have a problem. Contact the landlord as soon as a problem arises, and log it.
You should keep a diary or other register of any issues that arise. If there is something that you can take a photograph of (for instance a leaking pipe) or similar, then do so, and also print and/or time stamp it.
Establish with your landlord on signing your contract the best method of contacting the landlord, and ensure that you have all forms of contact for them: it is essential that you have a mailing address for them, in addition to a phone number and email.
The first time an issue arises, you should use what they tell you their preferred form of contact is - usually email or a call. Give them a bit of time to respond, unless it is an emergency, as they could be busy or on holiday etc. It is if there is a repeat practice of ignoring you or taking forever to get round to dealing with issues that you should start to worry - everyone is slow from time to time.
If you do encounter persistent problems, then you should change your line of attack from emailing to calling and writing letters. Write a letter, in as detailed a manner as possible, clearly dated, and outline the issue. Include photographs if you can of the issue. You should also consider sending the letter by recorded delivery - this sends the message to the landlord that you are taking things very seriously, and of course you can also prove that the letter was delivered as it has to be signed for by the landlord, so they can't claim at a later date that they didn't know about the issue.
There is only so much you can do, of course. If this still gets you no response and the issues are serious, or are becoming serious, then you will have to consider other options, such as getting legal advice as to how to proceed. Since it is the landlord's duty to fix things then - even if you know how to - you should really concentrate on getting the landlord to do their job and get things fixed rather than attempting to do it yourself, which is particularly risky and even more so if something goes wrong as you try to fix something.
The bottom line is that you need to be organised and methodical in your approach and businesslike when you approach a difficult landlord - this gives you the best chance of getting problems fixed in a timely manner without having to take recourse to further steps in order to get your problems dealt with.
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- The Complete First Time Buyers Guide