Renting is a necessary part of most people’s lives these days. Drawing the line between what your landlord owes you and what they do not can be tough. Ideally, lawyers never have to be involved, but in case it comes to that, here are a few guidelines to help you know when your rights as a tenant are infringed upon.
Primarily, your landlord is legally obligated to provide you with a habitable property. This includes anything related to power, running water, structural integrity, and heating. Your landlord is also required to take care of any bugs or other infestations. They are exempt from this, however, if said infestation resulted from any action on your part as the tenant. If you keep a dirty household, it’s not really your landlord’s fault that you’ve got a bug problem.
Minor repairs like a dripping faucet or a hole in your carpet are not often covered in your lease. It would definitely behoove you to read over the lease carefully; there is a chance it says something like “the landlord is responsible for any and all repairs.” If this clause is present, then, by all means, call on them for it. Generally, though, you’ll need to take care of these smaller problems yourself.
It’s best to present issues to your landlord in a well-written notice. Depending on your landlord-tenant relationship, this may be an email or a paper delivered to the office. Submitting any complaints in writing allows you to outline all sorts of reasoning as to why or why not the repairs are owed to you. It also prevents the situation of you calling your landlord at a bad time and them not being able to provide a satisfactory conversation. A letter can be referenced later at a more convenient date.
If your landlord owes you something and is not forthcoming, it may be time to involve a third party. This can be some kind of mediation service or be an actual lawyer. Lawsuits are never fun for anybody and should be avoided at all costs. If it comes to that, we’ve got you, but only use this approach if all else has failed. Regardless of the outcome, suing your landlord will erase any kind of positive relationship you had with them. I know I wouldn’t be comfortable renting from someone I’ve seen on the other end of a courtroom.
At the end of the day, it’s very important to be familiar with your lease and your rights as a tenant. Read it over and do your best to know the ins and outs of what you’re responsible for and what you’re not. We don’t mind going over that lease with you at all! At Post Falls Law we definitely put the client first.
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