What to do if your landlord won't fix something in your apartment or rental home

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Posted at 7:23 AM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 07:23:12-04

Mia Manalili heads inside her rental home, at the top of the steps is her daughter's room that she says is uninhabitable because the ceiling is leaking rain and collapsing.

"All this right here was all on the ground," Mia points out.

She says her daughter is lucky all the debris didn't fall on her while she was sleeping.

"That's the biggest thing that I've got going on because I've got young ones," Mia said.

She says she had been complaining about water leaks for months before the ceiling came down.

"I had been calling them and saying hey there’s a bubble."

Mia says she often wonders how long it can take a landlord to patch a leaky roof. She worries that next time there is heavy rain the whole ceiling will cave in.

We reached out to the landlord, who told us in a statement that "the home has a slate roof, and slate repair companies are backed up. We hope to fix it very soon."

So what can you do if a landlord won't fix a serious issue?

"The tenant should put that in writing." real estate attorney Dan Mccarthy said.

They should also give the landlord 30 days to fix it and then visit the courthouse to open up an escrow account.

"Do what is called a rent escrow," Mccarthy said.

That way you withhold your rent legally.

One caution: no matter how bad the conditions in your apartment are, you cannot simply stop paying rent. This may lead to you being evicted.