When you lease a home or apartment, your landlord must provide you with a safe and habitable living space. This generally requires the landlord to make necessary repairs to critical components of the living space, such as the roof, the plumbing and the heating system. If you need repairs or maintenance, write a letter to your landlord requesting him to make the repairs in a timely manner.
Format the letter like a business letter. List your address at the top of the page and write out the date below it. Under the date, write out your landlord’s name and address. Use a proper salutation: "Dear Mr. Jones:".
Discuss the problem with your apartment in the first paragraph. Begin with language such as “I am writing this letter to inform you that my apartment is in need of repair. Specifically [describe the problem.]”
Remind the landlord of his duty to make the repairs by including the language from your lease agreement that describes the landlord’s responsibility. Give the landlord a deadline for the maintenance. You could begin with language such as “In accordance with our lease agreement, it is your duty to make the necessary repairs and maintenance.” As for the deadline, serious problems (no heat or water), the problem should be fixed within 24 hours; minor issues should be addressed within 48 hours, according to Nolo, a legal information website.
Remain cordial and polite but describe how you intend to proceed if the problem is not fixed promptly. For example, landlord-tenant laws generally allow a tenant to withhold rent if the landlord does not make necessary repairs. You can threaten to withhold rent and place it in an escrow account if the problem is not solved.
Sign the letter and send it to your landlord. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.
If your problem is serious, you should try contacting the landlord directly on the phone or in person. If you fix the problem yourself — such as by hiring your own plumber or buying repair materials — request reimbursement from your landlord.
Issues regarding maintenance and repairs of your rental unit are generally contractual in nature and are governed by your lease agreement. If problems arise, you may need to seek legal assistance. State laws may vary on the extent to which you can withhold rent and the exact process you must take to do so. You should consult with an attorney before proceeding on your own.