Where to Complain About Apartment Maintenance

Exactly whom you need to contact if you’re experiencing problems related to flat maintenance changes depending on your geographical area. Generally, you should make an effort to remedy the problem with your landlord. If you cannot, you are able to do more than complain in some areas. California law, for instance, gives tenants a number of ways to take things into their own hands.

Landlord's Role

To know exactly how and where to complain, you have to first know when your landlord commits negligence in association with flat upkeep. In California, the Supreme Court found that all residential leases and rental agreements include an”implied warranty of habitability.” The country’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) clarifies your landlord must fix substantial problems to comply with state and local building and health codes. If you, a co-occupant, your loved ones or a co-occupant’s household, or your pets or a co-occupant’s pets caused the harm, but the landlord is exonerated from responsibility for making repairs.

Tenant's Role

Although your landlord should attend major problems, like keeping the heat and lights on in safe working order, in California, you’re also responsible for upkeep and maintenance of your rental unit. California law lists several special care concerns for which tenants are responsible. Typically, you must keep your unit and common areas clean and sanitary; run electrical, gas and plumbing supplies correctly; and refrain from destroying your device or any portion of the premises that house it. You need to confer with your landlord when you sign your initial lease agreement regarding who’s responsible for smaller repairs as well as the upkeep of flat”conveniences,” such as refrigerators, washing machines and swimming pools. California law also permits a tenant to agree to conduct all maintenance in his unit in exchange for lower rent.

Time Frame

When you know who’s responsible for what, California law infers you and your landlord should make an effort to behave in reasonable and responsible manner. When a problem occurs, contact your landlord by telephone and email, outlining the problem and asking her to have it repaired. The intensity of the problem dictates what a sensible time frame is regarding a fix. Generally, California law considers 30 days a reasonable time frame for the landlord to reply to your maintenance complaint. If it’s cold outside, however, as well as your furnace breaks, the DCA says this time period can fall to as little as fourteen weeks.


If you get nowhere with your landlord, then California law provides you the best to manage things on your own before filing a formal complaint. You have the option to”repair and deduct.” According to the San Francisco Tenants Union, you are able to fix the problem and deduct what you spent in this month’s lease, provided that the entire cost of the remedy does not exceed 1 month’s lease. You can do this which may happen in two consecutive months. You might also withhold your rent until your landlord adequately addresses your upkeep issue. The DCA advises that you also have the right to leave your unit without punishment when the repairs will cost more than 1 month’s lease and the issue is a serious threat to your health and security. Do not abuse this option, however. If the problems don’t fall under the”implied warranty of habitability,” your landlord may sue for back rent and damages.

Phone Calls

If being fair does not work and hitting your landlord at his pocket proves ineffective, complain to local agencies. This also varies depending upon your area, but many cities have housing offices which do inspections and enforce code. Santa Clara County, for instance, provides a listing of branches it’s possible to call applicable to specific issues. For instance, for mold problems it recommends calling Bay Area Air Quality Management. In the end, the agency you contact or your city’s office of housing will choose whether to warn the house owner or scrutinize the device ahead of a demand for prompt rectification. If all else fails, obviously, you ought to call a renter’s lawyer about filing a suit from the landlord.

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