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DWYM: What do if your landlord won't fix your problems

Posted at 7:50 AM, Sep 14, 2021

If you rent a home or apartment and you have a major problem, the landlord is supposed to fix it.

But what if they don’t?

Imagine having a water leak in your rental home or apartment and no one will fix it.

So we have an alert for all renters and what to do if you can't get your problems fixed.

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 over the ground," said Manalili, who says her daughter is all this didn't fall onto her while she was sleeping.

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

She made complaints about water leaks for months before the ceiling came down.

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

Manalili wonders how long it can take a landlord to patch a leaky roof.

She worries that next time there is a heavy rain the whole ceiling may cave in.

We contaced the landlord, who told us in a statement: "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," said real estate attorney Dan McCarthy, who said shortly before the pandemic that you should take these steps if you face the problem.

  • Send the landlord a letter.
  • Give him 30 days to fix it.
  • Visit to the courthouse to open up an escrow account.

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

That way, you withhold your rent legally.

Manalili says her daughter now has nowhere to sleep.

"It's just not livable," she says.

One caution: no matter how bad the conditions in your apartment, you cannot simply stop paying the rent - or you can and will be evicted.

As always, don't waste your money.