What can I do if when I go to move-in and the place is not in good condition?

  • If the rental does not meet your satisfaction do not move-in.
    • Once you turn that key, set your stuff down and start sleeping there you have accepted the rental “as is”.
  • You should call your landlord immediately and return the key if necessary to get your needs met.
  • Once you accept the unit “as is” your landlord has little incentive to fix things or make changes.

Should I report mold to my landlord?

  • It would be wise however check your lease to see if there is anything there about mold.
  • Some landlords require that you notify them if/when you see it because it can present a health hazard to residents.
  • Regardless, it is in your best interest to take action against anything that may present a threat to your health.

Can I withhold rent if my landlord doesn’t fix something?

  • In certain circumstances tenants may withhold rent until a problem has been remedied.
    • The repairs that are needed must be more serious than would justify use of the repair and deduct or abandonment remedies.
    • This remedy carries the same legal restrictions and risks as the other two remedies.
  • Withholding rent does not mean that tenants may live in the premises rent-free.
    • Depending on the nature of the problem, tenants may be entitled to a retroactive rent reduction.
  • It is wise to consult with an advisor before considering this last resort.

If my apartment is vandalized or broken into who is responsible, the landlord or me?

  • If the unit is secured with locks (i.e. dead bolts on doors and locking devices on windows), your landlord has met his/her obligations for security.
  • You are then responsible for covering the damages incurred at a break-in.
  • Most leases require renter’s insurance to cover the expenses of vandalism or a break-in.
  • When you sign a contract it usually specifies in the lease that you should carry renter’s insurance.
    • This is usually available through your parent’s homeowners insurance or even your auto insurance.

My landlord refuses to reimburse me for damages to my property, what can I do?

  • If the damage was not a natural disaster or caused by you (or any other tenant in your unit) then your landlord should be able to reimburse you for your losses.
  • Of course there are exceptions from time to time.
    • One questionable area is theft. Tenants are usually responsible for their losses in the case of theft, unless the theft is a result of the property provider’s negligence, i.e. improper locking devices.
  • As far as requesting compensation, you will want to make an inventory of lost items and their “fair market value”.
  • State the cause of the damage and amount of money you are seeking for reimbursement.
  • Property providers have insurance that will cover your losses. Submit your request in writing. Should your property provider disagree or refuse to pay, mediation is a good option.

What do we do when we’re being charged to fix something we didn’t break?

  • Whether or not you are found responsible for the problem will depend on the documentation of it not working since you moved in.
    • Did you notify your landlord of the damage as soon as you moved in?
    • Did you note what didn’t work on your inventory and condition report at the beginning of the tenancy?
    • If so, it shouldn’t be a problem proving you’re not to blame.
  • If you don’t have that evidence it will be harder.
  • Professional maintenance people are left to determine who’s to blame between the tenant and the landlord.
  • Your next best strategy would be to plead with the landlord that the problem always existed and perhaps you can reach a compromise with him/her.