Unresponsive and dismissive maintenance, anything I can do?

11 Replies

Someday, I hope to be a landlord and that is why I'm on the site. Right now, I'm a tenant. Because I have been reading and seeing things from the other side I don't want to be a pain. However, my apartment is a dump. The toilet runs for minutes, the fix they gave me was turn this knob on top (really, really old toilet) but that doesn't work. The shower has terrible pressure and is never warm, and it's getting worse. They've told me, that's just how it is. Everytime we use the incredibly old gas stove, the knobs fall off and they are clearly not the knobs that were originally on the stove. It makes cooking difficult. They won't do anything unless it's actually broken.

They raised the rent on this building 50% last year and basically just painted and put new flooring down. Is it my fault for not doing my due diligence and figuring this stuff out before, or do you think they are just slumlords who don't care? And is there something I can do to get these things fixed?

The best thing you can do in this situation is to write a letter to the landlord giving your notice for moving out.  Clearly state the reasons why you are moving in your letter.

If you don't really want to move IF these things get fixed, then I would still say to write that letter and let the landlord know that you want these fixed.  If they don't get them fixed, you will submit your rent to escrow to be held until you do get them fixed.  (If this is allowed in your state.)  Or, you can just say that you will give notice to move out if these things are not fixed.

Matt if they upped the rent by 50% that is a whopper of an increase.

Is it new owners that bought the place??

Sounds like they just refaced and said everything was new.

At this point you might want to do a comparative rent analysis since you are paying 50% more and see if you can get into a much nicer place now that you are paying a lot more money. If you were paying way under market and couldn't afford anything else you might be more stuck.

Matt do you pay the water bill or the landlord??

I hate it when landlords don't respond to their residents needs.  Makes us all look bad.  Here, the tenant can make a repair request in writing to their LL.  If it's not addressed in a reasonable time, you can pay for the repairs to be done and deduct that amount from your rent. Keep and submit receipts with the reduced rent.  Either way, submit your request in writing.  You may e-mail, but mail a hard copy letter as well.  Good luck @Matt Gehrls  .  Please keep us posted!

Originally posted by @Joel Owens :

Matt if they upped the rent by 50% that is a whopper of an increase.

Is it new owners that bought the place??

Sounds like they just refaced and said everything was new.

At this point you might want to do a comparative rent analysis since you are paying 50% more and see if you can get into a much nicer place now that you are paying a lot more money. If you were paying way under market and couldn't afford anything else you might be more stuck.

Matt do you pay the water bill or the landlord??

New owner, and rents were undermarket before, but the place is in bad shape so it made sense. I'm not complaining about the rent in general. I agreed to pay the rent when I signed the lease.

Landlord pays water here because the building is old. I understand that can affect the pressure, but there are clearly other problems that could make our shower better. I don't need it to be the best shower ever. I've thought about doing it myself, but I don't want to put money into this place that I am leaving in 5 months. If I can do it myself and bill them for it after putting a request in writing like someone said, I could do that. I just don't understand why its so hard to get it done. They basically own my neighborhood in Chicago so they should have the resources.

If water pressure is low in all pipes it could be galvanized plumbing. If you are leaving in 5 months maybe it's not worth the hassle.

If you are unhappy with the place maybe ask for a request for repairs in writing. If they do not budge and are causing issues maybe see if they will let you out of your current lease with no penalty to move somewhere better for paying the same rent as you are now.

Not giving legal advice in this post.    

@Matt Gehrls  says on your profile you are a "Leasing Agent" in West Town

If so why are you on here asking this question?

Ahhh hum... As Homer Simpson once said... DOPE!!!

@Matt Gehrls  send them a letter certified mail stating what needs fixed and your concerns. It needs to be certified to address the court if the money is in escrow. Also you should hire out the repairs and get 3 quotes so they cant say you over charged. I am not a lawyer, and not sure IL law, but that's the way IN would be. 

Update: I put the request in writing and delivered it to their office myself yesterday. Today, the maintenance guy has been here for 3 hours working diligently. Apparently, it needed a lot of work (like I didn't know that).

Thank you for all the help. Apparently just putting it in a professional letter made all the difference. They must have seen I wasn't going to be a passive, lazy tenant and assumed I knew something. 

That's great news, Matt! I hope this makes the remainder of your stay more easy and pleasant.

Regarding some people saying to go to rent escrow, I'm not sure if these repairs would warrant holding rent in escrow. Usually for rent escrow, these needs to be repairs that are serious such as no heat or something that seriously affects your safety and well-being. As much as it sucks to have a rickety stove, slow-filling toilet, and not very warm shower, they don't affect safety. This is just FYI.

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