how do I make my landlord fix things?

it’s ridiculous that I don’t know the answer to this, I am 50 freaking years old. but up until I moved into this rental house last October I owned my own house for awhile and before that?

I lived in rentals where either nothing went wrong or when it did, I told whoever owned or managed it and they saw to it whatever it was got fixed. that’s it.

this landlord? frankly, nothing useful happens. he says things like “I’ll swing by when I have my tools in the truck” but it turns out this is meaningless since he is not actually able to fix anything. seriously.

I guess the first step is put my complaints in writing and bring it to his attention - again - in some official way. and listen to him blow some hot air. frankly, I wouldn’t be so pissed if he was just honest and told me his plan is to never pay anyone one dime to fix things as long as the house already has a renter.

so - step one, notify. step two, assume whatever he says is meaningless.

then what?

In Pennsylvania, where I am a landlord:

Step 3, Notify him in writing of the problem, mention that you’ve discussed it with him in person previously.

Step 4. Notify him in writing that the problem has not been fixed and that you will be fixing it at your own expense and deducting the cost from your next rent.

Step 5, Fix the problem at your cost. Send your next rent payment less the cost of the repair with copies of documentation of the cost you incurred.

In Pennsylvania, if he were uninformed about landlord tenant law and sued you for the unpaid rent or to evict you, the court would rule in your favor and say you do not owe him the money.

Key being that your costs have to be reasonable, you have to give him notice of a problem, and it has to be something he was obligated to fix.

I’ve only ever been a landlord in Pennsylvania so I can’t comment how other jurisdictions may differ.

I appreciate your help, Fuzzy.

where do I find out how the law stands in Tiny Town, Nebraska?

and how do I know what he is obligated to fix? for example, there are a washing & dryer here and the washer has recently stopped spinning. it’s old. I looked at the lease and no mention of the appliances. does he have to fix it or provide another one?

how much time do I have to give him to fix something before I can say I will have it done and deduct it from the rent?

on a more personal note, do you like being a landlord? I’ve heard some horror stories and I sold my last house for less than I paid for it rather than keep it to rent out hoping the market would go back up. just didn’t want the trouble of dealing with tenants.

I, of course, am the perfect tenant. :wink:

Works that way in Minnesota too, and has for more than 30 years. In my very first apartment, they were refusing to replace the disposal, for months on end. I sent them a notice that I’d found one on sale for N dollars and would be purchasing it on X date, installing it and subtracting the amount from our upcoming rent. They replaced the unit within a few days.

Legal advice is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Most state legal aid groups have a landlord-tenant self help handbook. Looks like yours is no exception:
(the actual handbook is attached at the bottom of the page). Also, the legal aid lawyers are often happy to write a letter for you on their letterhead, which can help spur a troublesome landlord into action.

Unfortunately, I doubt the landlord is required to provide a washer and dryer in the same way as he is a refrigerator or toilet, so you might be out of luck if the lease doesn’t specifically mention it. The only times I’ve ever had a rental house with washer and dryer provided is when previous tenants abandoned theirs there, in which case the landlord made it clear that we can use them, but he’s not on the hook if they break.

excellent, thank you for the link.