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Your Responsibility To Promptly Submit Repair Requests To Your Landlord
As a tenant in a rental community, you have some advantages over homeowners. For example, you don’t need to worry about making simple maintenance repairs. What you DO need to worry about is submitting repair requests in a timely fashion. If you wait too long, YOU could be responsible for costly repairs.
Let’s visit Suzy Shmoe - a resident of Hypothetical Apartments. Suzy has a leaky washer. When her clothes hit the spin cycle, some of the water inside ends up on the floor. Since Suzy is a busy woman she keeps forgetting to turn in that repair request to her landlord. So to temporarily “fix” the problem, she surrounds the washer with big fluffy beach towels which she replaces after every load. Sure, it’s a makeshift job... but by the time she gets home from school, its always too late to get in touch with the landlord, and she’s too tired to find him early in the morning. So the problem continues, and replacing wet towels from around the washer becomes more of a routine than a reminder of the leak.
What Suzy doesn’t realize is that the constant moisture on the laundry room tiles is causing them to warp and crack. Slowly, water begins to soak into the cracks and through to her downstairs neighbors ceiling. (Aren’t chain reactions fun?) So, Suzy’s downstairs neighbors submit a repair request to the landlord asking him to look at the water stain on their ceiling. The landlord determines Suzy’s leaking washer is the source of the problem, and now she is responsible not only for repairing the cracked ceiling of her downstairs neighbors, but also the repair costs needed to fix the original problem!
Now if Suzy had taken the extra time to turn a repair request into her landlord in the first place, her washer would work fine, she’d have a cabinet full of dry towels, and she wouldn’t have to worry about dishing out the cost for all of the repairs which now have to be made. Poor Suzy.
So let’s go back to Hypothetical Apartments and say that Suzy DID submit the request for repairs at the first sign of leaking. What if the landlord didn’t make the repair before the downstairs neighbors had a crack in their ceiling? According to the Cleveland Tenant’s Organization, “If a landlord does not meet the duties imposed by the Landlord Tenant law or the local housing codes or the rental agreement or if there are conditions which materially affect health and safety, then... a tenant may give the landlord a written notice to correct the condition. This notice must be in writing and delivered to the person or at the place where the tenant normally pays rent. Tenant should keep a copy of this notice.
“If the landlord fails to correct the condition within a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days, then the tenant may deposit his/her rent with the Clerk of Courts, or may apply to the Court for an order to compel the repairs, or may terminate the rental agreement.”
In other words, if Suzy did her part as a tenant by notifying the landlord of the problem, the responsibility would move out of her hands and into the landlord’s. So if you have even a minor problem that requires your landlord’s attention, take the extra few minutes to turn in the repair request. You’ll save both you and your landlord from additional stresses.
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