The most common call received from a Tenant is an allegation that the Landlord’s failure to repair the leased premises. These calls range from faulty dishwashers, to the extermination of bed bugs to the failure to remediate mold.
The Tenant, more often than not, will advise that they have been “repeatedly calling the Landlord” and leaving messages to fix the problem and are getting little to no response. The first question back to the Tenant is always, “Have you notified the Landlord in writing?”. Most Landlords are good, honest businesspeople that will immediately investigate and remedy a Tenant’s situation without the need for a written letter or email. However, there are those few circumstances in which the Landlord is not properly fulfilling its duties under the Lease, and in those instances, proper documentation from the Tenant is warranted.
Clearly Mark the Letter or Email with the Appropriate Subject Heading:
If you are a Tenant and are forced to send written notice to the Landlord as described above then it is advisable the you clearly depict on your letter or email exactly what the nature of the communication is. Placing the phrase “Notice of Landlord Default” and referencing the specific lease should help in getting your letter to the correct individual.
Proof of Delivery:
When sending a written notice to the Landlord it is advisable that it is sent with some kind of proof of delivery. Sending a certified letter, or email with a receipt confirmation is sufficient.
Detail prior conversations:
If you have had prior verbal communications with the Landlord or a Landlord representative concerning the dispute,then you should detail the specifics of those conversations in the written communication. It is important to detail times of the conversations, with whom those conversations were had and what was discussed.
Provide Landlord with a time to respond:
Read the Lease carefully and be specific about what provision of the Lease you are communicating about. The Lease likely has a “cure period” which gives a party a certain amount of time to remedy any defaults. The Tenant should also provide the Landlord with the applicable cure period to respond under the Lease. If the Lease is silent as to a cure period then a reasonable amount of time should be afforded to the Landlord depending on the issue.
Remember, the written letter or email is the only documented evidence of the Tenant’s request to the Landlord to remedy an issue under the Lease. It is important to keep all of this documentation in the event that the issue escalates into something greater.