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My apartment needs repairs – what do I do?

Sometimes asking your landlord to make a repair will be enough. If a simple request does not get the repairs made, the tenant can start the legal process for forcing the landlord to make repairs. The first step in that process is for the tenant to request those repairs in writing.

Ohio law says that IF a landlord:

  • fails make repairs required by law; or
  • fails to make repairs or maintain the property as required by the lease; or
  • the tenant reasonably believes that the landlord has failed to make repairs required by the law or the lease; or
  • if a governmental agency, for example the City’s Building and Housing or Health Department, has found that the property is in violation of city code, and that violation could materially affect the health and safety of the tenant or another occupant of the property;

THEN, the tenant may give notice in writing to the landlord, specifying the conditions that violate the landlord’s duties.

The tenant should include in the notice all the conditions that need repair. The tenant must send the notice to the person or place where rent is normally paid. The tenant should keep a copy of the notice, for the tenant’s records.

After receiving the notice, the landlord must correct the problems within a reasonable time. Thirty days usually is considered a reasonable time, unless the condition is more urgent. For example, if the tenant does not have heat in the winter, a reasonable time to make repairs likely will be shorter than thirty days.

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