My Landlord Isn’t Fixing my Heater, What Now?

My heater is broken and my landlord isn't fixing it. What can I do?

What to  do when your landlord isn’t fixing things in your rental home or apartment…

Some of the most annoying problems that tenants encounter include malfunctioning appliances, leaky faucets, defective heaters, dilapidated carpets and other irritating failures.

Unfortunately, if the landlord declines to do minor repairs, tenants cannot simply withhold their rent, move out or use other applicable legal measures that are convenient for problems on major repairs. However, various strategies are available for you, which may provide positive results. Just ensure that the repairs are under the landlord’s responsibility.

Primarily, it is your responsibility as a tenant to keep your apartment clean, in safe condition and you should reimburse the landlord for damages that you might cause. The lease prohibits you to make alterations or improvements without the consent of the landlord.

On the other hand, tenants can use a number of legal provisions applicable to appoint a minor repair under the responsibility of the landlord. The following are some of them:

Building Codes

The local and state building codes concern mainly on structural requirements that include flooring, roofing and essential services such as hot water. If the problem is a direct violation of the building code, this can be a habitability concern that can be addressed applying a remedy like rent withholding. Additionally, some codes regulate lesser parts of the rental, which can include the number of electrical outlets. You can check the state’s building code and other local ordinances that can be applicable to the problem such as fixing the heater. If it applies, you may get some favorable results from the responsible government agency, which administers the applicable code. The following are examples:

The Landlord-Tenant Laws

The responsibility of minor repairs is given directly to the landlord in some states. You can inquire on your state’s Landlord-Tenant Statutes to get the details. However, take note that in a multiunit setting, single-family home renters in many states can possibly agree on taking responsibilities that may actually belong to the landlord.

Promises contained in the Lease

You can possibly review the lease agreement and try to find promises that imply to fix your concerns. A list of amenities that form part of the rental including sauna, dishwasher or washing machine can constitute implied promises, which the landlord should provide in good workable condition.

Promises in Ads

If your rented unit is advertised with features, a swimming pool for example, which has a significant influence on your decision in renting the unit; you have the right in holding to such promise. The promise does not even have to be in words, a photo that shows a pool already there represents a landlord’s obligation to provide one.

Implied Promises

Eventually, tenants may encounter a minor repair problem that does not in any way fall within the applicable ways mentioned above to obliged the landlord to do repairs; no law or code violation, no ad promise or no promise to fix.

Through implied promises, tenants are entitled to get what they paid for. Various courts can hold a landlord to be responsible legally to maintain all the significant aspects of the rented unit. The rented unit may already have some features such as working lighting fixtures, doors, which work smoothly, wall tiles that do not fall-off or faucets that do not leak. Many judges may rule that the landlord has executed an implied contract in keeping the features on the rented unit in good workable order within the period of the lease.