On Your Side: How to get the landlord to make repairs

On Your Side: How to get the landlord to make repairs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Lighting a fire under a non-responsive landlord may require court action, if you can't get the property owner to step up and make repairs. But there are steps you should take before deciding whether to take your case before a judge.

You pay your rent on time, take care of the property, and your landlord has a legal responsibility to provide you a safe and livable home. When that doesn't happen, that's when the tenant calls 12.

Trouble found its way inside Carlita and Theron Edwards' apartment in the form of rain.

Theron Edwards says,"Water was all over the floor. The ceiling fan was spinning with the light on and water was just gushing through. So, when I stepped on the floor, I was barefoot and I was pleading to bloody Jesus, because I know electricity and rain do not mix."

After two days of hard rain, they claim signs of damage to their property are showing up.

"My furniture stinks now after the rain, it really does stink," Theron says. "You know, they didn't offer to clean it or give me any money for my computer."

The property manager did send a crew who are working on the plumbing, but they believe the leaks are linked to the roof and windows.

"The globe in the ceiling fan still has water from the rain from Thursday and Saturday," Carlita says. "The kitchen is full of water. My living room is full of water. Someone was suppose to come by Sunday to check it out. Nobody came by Sunday to check it out."

There are legal remedies: be current in your rent and give your landlord written notice of the problem and wait a reasonable amount of time. If the problem persists, take the notice you gave the landlord and next month's rent to general district court. You can file what's called a "rent escrow case," where you continue to pay rent, but to the court until a judge decides.

Theron Edwards says, "I'm paying rent on time. I'm not asking for anything. Everything in here needs to get fixed. You need to get up in the ceiling, find out if we're going to get mold or anything before it starts getting hot. I do want to be here. If not, they're going to have to work something out so I can find another place."

We reached out to the property manager and we're getting their side of the repairs complaint also. They tell us they sent a crew out today and will send another tomorrow to check the roof.

Another tip: get renter's insurance for unforeseen problems just like this. The Edwards say they don't have it and they may not get reimbursement from the owners.

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