Document Efforts to Get Owner to Make Repairs

If your owner doesn’t respond promptly to your request for a repair, you may be entitled to a rent abatement until it makes the repairs. Or you may be entitled to terminate the lease. But in order to exercise these or other remedies without being sued by the owner for nonpayment of rent, you’ll need to prove that you notified it about the problem and it didn’t respond fast enough.

After you make an oral request for a repair in your space, confirm it by sending a certified letter, return receipt requested, to the owner. The letter should: summarize your initial conversation with the owner regarding the problem; confirm the date and time you agreed to give the owner’s employee and/or contractor access to the space to make the repair; say that the owner should notify you immediately if it must reschedule the date and time of access; and remind the owner that should if it fails to make the necessary repairs by the deadline specified in the lease--or within a reasonable period of time if there’s no set deadline--you’ll consider the owner to be in violation of the lease.