Both you and your landlord have rights and responsibilities. By law, your landlord is required to keep your unit in good and safe working order and to follow relevant state and local codes. When you discover that something needs to be fixed, let your landlord know about the problem immediately over the telephone or in person. Your landlord doesn’t have to fix the problem until you tell him about it in writing, so follow up with a written request and keep a copy for your files.
If your landlord does not respond in a reasonable amount of time, you may decide to pay to repair an emergency problem yourself. Be sure to keep copies of all receipts so that you can seek reimbursement from your landlord.
Don’t withhold rent to convince your landlord to make repairs. Instead, try to work out a cut in your rent. For example, the landlord may allow you to pay to fix a broken refrigerator and then subtract the cost from your next month’s rent. Or, the landlord may agree to reduce your rent for a month during which you could not use one room because of a leaky roof.
If the landlord fails to fix something that puts your safety at risk or violates local codes, report it to local authorities. Local building, health, fire and safety inspectors can take action to ensure compliance with the codes.
If you and your landlord aren’t able to settle your disputes, file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division in your State.
Many States have laws that sets a limit on the amount of rent owed by military personnel who end their leases early because of premature or involuntary discharge or due to a permanent change in duty station that requires a move of more than 50 miles.
Under the circumstances specified in the law, military personnel can break their lease by giving written notice to their landlord at least 30 days in advance of their move date. The notice must include a copy of their official military orders or a written verification signed by a commanding officer.
Military personnel are responsible for paying rent until their move date.
Finally, if your monthly rent is $1,200 or less, the federal Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Relief Act (SSRA) can stop your family from being evicted while you are serving active duty.