Dealing with an Unresponsive Landlord

Small issues are bound to come up when you’ve living in your first apartment, from clogged shower drains (ew) to broken air conditioning (ugh) to aesthetic maintenance… and these issues simply require a landlord to come and fix! Even if you have a fantastic landlord who quickly attends to big issues, having an unresponsive landlord for small issues can lead to huge frustration!

A perfect example: We have a small outside patio outside of our place that should be maintained by our landlord’s¬† facilities staff. After bumping into our landlord (who’s awesome!) I asked if they could please pressure wash it for us. It’s rained a TON lately, so the porch is a bit grimy, and we aren’t supposed to attend to it ourselves. “Absolutely!” … But it hasn’t happened.

However, it’s a fine line to walk. Although you are paying to live in their property, they can also choose not to extend your lease at the end of the year, so you want to be respectful and polite in all of your interactions with them.

Here are a few tips to ensure you get the things you need from your landlord without being a burden.

1. Put everything in writing

Getting requests in writing formalizes your entire process. Instead of simply hoping for the best, you can track the dates that your request was sent and when they follow up with you. Plus, your landlord is more likely to remember when they have it on paper (or in an inbox).

2. Share requests with formal process or entire team

If your landlord works for a broader organization or is part of a team, be sure to share your request via the formal process (i.e. the online form) or copy the landlords’ office on your email to ensure more than one person sees the request.

3. Schedule specific days/times for repairs where possible

When asking for a repair, offer a couple specific dates and times that you’re available for it to be fixed. Instead of saying “Can you come pressure wash,” say “Are you available to pressure wash Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday between 12p and 4p?” That makes the email much more actionable, instead of being stuck in communication.

4. Understand responsibility by reading your contract

All maintenance and repair responsibility should be outlined in your apartment lease contract. Ensure that your request falls into your landlords’ responsibility before asking them for help in the first place!

All in all, open communication with your landlord is crucial. Don’t let issues fester, and be clear and open with your unresponsive landlord about what you need, and when you need it.

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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