When a problem develops with your rented property, an unresponsive landlord can be a real pain. You need them to get the boiler fixed urgently, and they’re dragging their heels – or perhaps not returning your calls at all!
If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few steps you might take to deal with it. Let’s look at five of the more effective.
If you’ve taken out specialised tenant’s insurance on your property, then you’ll be able to fix certain problems without involving the landlord at all. Insurance of this kind comes in two categories. There’s liability insurance and contents insurance. The former covers property that your landlord owns; the latter covers with your own stuff.
Whether or not you’re insured, you’ll want to keep records of a problem that needs to be repaired. This might consist of photos and video of the problem, along with any damage that’s been inflicted on other items, as well as correspondence from your landlord. If the problem has had an impact on your health, then getting a note from the doctor will help you when you come to claim compensation later.
Don’t Stop Chasing
Just because your landlord isn’t responding to your text messages doesn’t mean that you should stop sending them. Emails are a great way to stay in touch, as they can set out your requirements explicitly, and you can keep a dated record of them easily. When you’re corresponding, make sure that you reiterate the problem, what they’re duty-bound to do about it, and suggest which times would be convenient.
Even if your landlord doesn’t budge (or even reply), you’ll have more of that evidence you need – and your landlord won’t be able to claim that they weren’t aware of the problem.
Get the Problem Fixed Yourself
If you’ve given the landlord the chance to fix the problem, and they haven’t, then you might not have the time to wait for them. Get the problem fixed yourself by hiring a reasonable professional. You might then bill the landlord, but make sure that the work being carried out does not cause further repair issues that need to be corrected.
You might subsequently be able to deduct the cost of the repairs from your rent – but only with the agreement of your landlord.
If you’ve taken every reasonable step to get the problem fixed, then you might take the complaint further – first to your local council, and then to the courts. This is an extreme measure that should be pursued only in a minority of cases. For many tenants, the better approach is to simply find alternative accommodation with a more competent landlord.