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ASKING YOUR LANDLORD TO PAY FOR REPAIRS

Asking your landlord to pay for repairs is not the easiest conversation to have. Like asking neighbors to contribute to charities, the trick to asking your landlord to pay for any repairs is to be prepared, be polite and be respectful. Do not get angry or demand that your landlord pays for the repairs. Take the time to meet with your landlord and discuss the problems and prices in a mature manner.

Talking to your Landlord About Repairs

Before you confront your landlord have a read through of your lease agreement to see if there is any information about paying for repairs or if there is any information about what you are responsible for as the tenant. Structural damage to the house or apartment, such as a broken window, a leaking roof or a burst pipe are usually the responsibility of the landlord and, in many instances, your landlord will use his insurance provider to pay for the repairs; however, other things, such as a leaky facet, a cracked toilet seat or a broken burner, may require only a minor repair that you are responsible for doing yourself.

Whenever there is damage to your rental unit you should notify your landlord, even if you have done the repair yourself. Something as simple as a squeaky door can easily be fixed with a little oil and a screwdriver but your landlord may still want to know about this. He will most likely not compensate you for the 15 cent screw you used but he will be grateful that you are taking the initiative to fix minor repairs. Furthermore, because it is his home, he will want to know what replacements you have made while living there.

Serious damage to your rental unit will require assistance from a professional. However, before you get out the phone book and look for plumbers, electricians, builders, etc, you need to discuss it with your landlord. Tell him exactly what has happened and be honest about how it happened. Don't blame it on the poor layout of the house or anything that the landlord has done - simply state the facts. Ask him what he prefers to do - does he want you to find a contractor and then put him in touch or does he want to find his own contractor? In most instances your landlord will do the work and will notify you when the contractor will be coming to fix the damage.

Who Pays for What?

Before any money is laid out and anyone is paid make sure you have discussed who will pay for what. Will you foot the bill and then your landlord reimburse you? Will the contractor go directly through your landlord's insurance agency? Will the landlord be there on the day of the repair so that he can directly work with the contractor? Ask your landlord about the how exactly the process will occur so that you are not thrown off guard and stuck with writing a check to a contractor that you cannot afford to pay.

When asking your landlord to pay for repairs, keep in mind that your landlord is not responsible for paying all costs involved in the event of a serious problem. For example, if a pipe bursts your landlord may be responsible for fixing the pipe but he does not have to pay you for any damage incurred to your own belongings. After all, it's not directly the fault of your landlord that a pipe burst. Make sure you also purchase renters insurance to pay for any additional costs and replacements to your own belongings. This will save you a headache if something does go wrong in your rental unit.

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