At one point or another, there’s bound to be trouble in one of the apartments you live in. An appliance is going to break down, or hot water won’t run properly; maybe you’ll have an exceptionally noisy neighbor, or experience a power outage, or even see mice or other vermin scampering about. All of these problems need to be addressed in order for you to live comfortably, even safely; it’s important that you know how to contact your landlord and discuss these problems.
The most important thing to keep in mind when getting in touch with your landlord is that they likely have procedures as to who to call, and when. It can be a good idea to get to know your landlord on a somewhat personal level, in order to gauge how quickly they want to be called when issues arise. Some landlords would rather not know about problems, but most want to be contacted promptly should any problems crop up. During discussions with them, in your lease or on an apartment-wide message board, you’ll be bound to find contact information. It might be a direct line to the landlord, it might be to a superintendent, or it could be to a property management company. There may also be hours of operation that dictate when you should call and whether or not you can leave a message. Follow the procedures that have been put into place in order to get the best possible response.
You’ll want to be attentive to municipal and apartment-wide notices that can indicate when power, water or other utilities are going to be offline. The central message board found in many apartments is, again, a great place to look for these notices; you might also find them online, as many property management services are going paperless. Your landlord doesn’t want to get a call about a planned power outage, so stay in the know in order to avoid unnecessary annoyances.
Sometimes, even when you’re following all of the procedures, you might not get an answer as quickly as you’d like; it may be because they’re busy, it may be something more sinister, but no matter the motive, it’s in your interest to have the problem taken care of. Keep a log of all your attempts to contact your landlord, send letters that you make copies of, date stamp all of the correspondence and follow through. Being polite, but firm and insistent will often make your landlord take action. Unfortunately, there are times where this won’t be enough; you hope not to have to pursue legal options, but sometimes that’s the only way of getting things done. Obviously, this is a worst-case scenario, and if you have to go to court to get your dishwasher fixed, you’re probably not living in the best place you could. When your landlord refuses to respond to real problems that fall within their purview, it might be time to look at new apartments for rent.