Creative Commons License credit: sw_wetmonkey

If you’re a renter and your unit needs a repair you don’t necessarily have to wait for your landlord to step up and fix the problem. Although, you do have to give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to remedy the situation themselves before you step in.

The first thing you should do if there is an area that needs attention is notify your landlord or property manager. They are responsible for keeping the unit in a habitable condition. If it’s a major repair they have to fix it. Unless, of course, the problem was caused by your negligence or willful acts. But if it’s something like a broken water pipe, this is a landlord responsibility and it’s a serious enough one that the landlord will have to have it repaired quickly.

If your landlord is not seeing to the problem in a reasonable amount of time (you can check to see what your area considers reasonable by contacting your local fair housing authority) then you can begin to take action. With a broken pipe you’ll probably want to call a plumber and have them come right away. You can then subtract the repair fees from your next rent check. If it’s something less dramatic, say a leaky faucet, then you can begin withholding a small percentage of your rent until the landlord makes the repair. Local laws should always be taken in to consideration before you withhold any rent, just to avoid any eviction processes.