The Best Way to Get Your Landlord to Fix (Almost) Anything

Apartment repairman in blue overalls and red t-shirt with screwdriver, fixing apartment dishwasherFeel like your landlord won’t fix anything? Maybe you’re dealing with a fridge door that won’t close, a jammed window, or a plumbing leak. Whatever the case, sometimes getting your landlord to pay attention to needed repairs is as useful as telling a wall to change color on its own. Here are a few tips to get your landlord’s attention and (hopefully) resolve your apartment repair problems!

Review your lease for repair specifics

First of all, make sure what you’re asking for is the landlord’s responsibility. Every lease is different, but there are usually a few standard maintenance repairs that landlords are typically responsible for. Problems that compromise structural integrity, like plumbing and foundation issues, and major appliance malfunctions are usually taken care of by the landlord. Small issues like replacing light bulbs, however, may fall under your care. Review your lease agreement and your state’s tenant rights if you have questions. Know what the landlord is required to fix and what is negotiable.

Make sure it’s something you can’t solve solo

Think through the problem before you act: Can (and should) you fix this problem yourself? Would it take longer to get ahold of your landlord than to simply fix the problem on your own? Don’t cry wolf about something you can deal with or you may risk losing the trust of your landlord when your neighbor starts quality-testing hammers on your adjoining wall. As always, make sure you are within your responsibility if you do choose the DIY route.

Think before you speak…or type or text or send a carrier pigeon

Be respectful in your communication. You deal with enough conflict in the outside world – don’t invite it into your home unnecessarily by being rude or confrontational. Act with integrity and take the time to build a trusting relationship with your landlord by respecting his or her personal time, space, and availability.

Timing is everything. Unless you have an uncontrollable or dangerous situation, it’s probably best not to call your landlord at 4 in the morning. Use your best judgment, though – sometimes landlords prefer to be notified right away, especially if a repair might cost more by waiting!

Get everything in writing

Document everything in writing. That way you give the landlord time to process the request at his or her own pace. In addition to being considerate, you also have proper documentation should the issue go to court. Take pictures and keep a communication log.

Shop for a new apartment

You’ve checked your tenant rights, tried everything you can to fix the problem yourself, and respectfully contacted your landlord. If you feel like your voice still isn’t being heard by your landlord, even when you follow all of the appropriate channels, it may be time to shop new apartments for rent. Use to find your next apartment and you could get $200 in rewards. Consider it a little something for your troubles! After all, finding the perfect apartment should be a pleasure!