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How Long Does a Landlord Have to Make Repairs?

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Make Repairs?

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Make Repairs?


How Long Does a Landlord Have to Make Repairs?

One of the realities of apartment living is waiting for the landlord to make repairs. Not only does it try your patience, but it can be especially frustrating because of the lack of control; you must wait on someone else to fix things. But how long must you wait? In terms of figuring out a timeframe for the landlord to make repairs, the type of repair matters.

After first making a repair request, a tenant must give the landlord a "reasonable" amount of time to remedy the situation before the tenant can take any action. In this context, reasonable will depend on the type of repair issue at stake.

Urgent/Emergency Repairs: Should be ASAP (3-7days)

Every lease guarantees a certain standard of living and the landlord legally must maintain habitable conditions for the housing that they provide. The following are emergency or critical issues that need to be handled right away:

  • Lack of water
  • Lack of heat
  • Lack of electricity
  • Lack of working plumbing, and waste removal
  • Broken refrigerator (if a refrigerator was provided by the landlord)
  • Lack of smoke detector or a broken smoke detector
  • A major pest infestation

Non-Urgent or Non-Emergency Repairs: Within 30 Days

The following are issues that may be annoying to deal with but aren't urgent and thus, the landlord has more time to resolve them:

  • Broken ceiling fan
  • Dripping facets
  • Broken minor appliances (microwaves, dishwashers)
  • Noisy radiator
  • Unhinged cabinet drawers

What to Do if Landlord Doesn't Make Repairs

If you've properly notified your landlord and they don't repair and maintain your unit as they are legally obligated to, then you can handle it in a few ways:

  • Make a written complaint about the lack of repairs: Request a response within a time frame stating when the repairs will be handled. Never do this verbally because you want a record of documentation with a time and date stamp.
  • Make a petition with the SF Rent Board: You can go to the Rent Board until the repairs are completed for a rent reduction due to a "decrease in services." Or you can file a Failure to Repair and Maintain If you aren't under rent control, you can likely pursue this in Small Claims Court.
  • Move out and/or sue your landlord: If your unit doesn't have any of the legally mandated essential services, such as hot water, plumbing, etc.) and your landlord isn't doing anything to remedy that within reasonable time, then the law allows you to leave, even in the middle of your lease. The landlord is basically forcing you out of your apartment; this is considered a constructive eviction. You will need written documentation of the issues, including correspondence and pictures, in order to claim a constructive eviction.

Get Immediate Legal Help with Repair Issues

If you've given your landlord the reasonable time to make repairs, and they refuse, it's time to do something about it. You have a right to have your requests addressed. Don't hesitate to talk with an experienced Wolford Wayne tenants' rights attorney. We're here ready to go against your landlord and to help you determine your best options. Contact us immediately for help.


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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.

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