How to Write a Formal Complaint Letter to Your Landlord About Ceiling Leak

Landlord Protection How to Write a Formal Complaint Letter to Your Landlord About Ceiling Leak

How to Write a Complaint to Landlord About Ceiling Leak

Are you tired of verbally passing your concerns about a leaking ceiling in your apartment to the landlord? You can take another step to motivate the landlord towards resolving your problem — that is, writing them a complaint letter. But if you're unfamiliar with demand letters, you might be wondering ? This unique guide will take you through everything you need to know and give you a quick and easy solution using DoNotPay.

When to Write a Complaint Letter

Technically, renters’ rights under all state laws require the landlord to make and pay for all major repairs at their rental apartments. These may include when there is:

  • Pest or mold infestation.
  • Water leaks, including pipe cracks and .
  • Electric wiring.
  • Major HVAC repairs and maintenance.
  • Sanitation and garbage management.
  • Other emergencies that render the apartment's condition unfit for living, such as those that violate building codes.

However, some landlords may want to ignore your oral requests. Before taking another further step, writing a formal complaint might force them to take things seriously and consequently schedule repairs.

Writing a Demand Letter to Your Landlord

Before you write a demand letter, you need to go through the lease agreement and state (or local) laws to ensure your request is lawfully the landlord's responsibility.

Tip: Remember that this complaint letter should be a trade-off between a friendly request and a formal letter — a formal one because you can use it as legal evidence later.

In your repair demand letter, you should include the following:

  1. Your address and apartment number.
  2. The landlord's address.
  3. A subject line indicating the problem, e.g., 'continued ceiling leak in my apartment.'
  4. Dear [landlord surname|management agency], below the subject line.
  5. In the body of the letter, write two to three paragraphs. The first paragraph should act as your introduction, quoting the dates from when you have been in the apartment and how you have been faithfully and timely fulfilling your part of responsibility like paying rent.
  6. Briefly explain the problem that needs repair in the second paragraph (including when it started, the pains/damage it's causing you, and its urgency) and quote any clauses in the lease contract or state laws that place that responsibility on the landlord.
  7. The final paragraph should state how long they have to make the repairs, lest you take other steps.
  8. Sign off the complaint letter by including your name, signature, and dates.

After confirming everything is correct, mail the letter to the landlord's address and keep the mail receipt and a copy of the signed letter.

What Happens if the Landlord Refuses to Resolve My Complaints?

Depending on the city or state you live in and its laws governing landlords and tenants, you have got a few options up your sleeve before you can even think of filing a lawsuit. First, you'd want to confirm your state laws before applying any of the following, or you may approach your local tenant advocacy board for advice.

Withhold rentSimply withholding part or all the rent can make the landlord answer your repair calls. But be sure you actually have enough proof so that the landlord cannot wrongfully evict you on the grounds of refusal to pay rent.
Repair-and-deductIf your state allows, you can decide to make the repairs yourself and deduct the costs from the rent. For example, Massachusetts allows tenants to deduct up to 4 months' rent to make repairs. Keep the repair receipts, and a copy of the demand letter in case the landlord decides to sue you.
Break leaseWhen the issue is rendering the residence uninhabitable, e.g., severe leaky ceiling condition during the rainy season, you can decide to break your lease and move out without issuing the landlord the required move-out notice.

File a Lawsuit in Small Claims Court

Under certain conditions, you can decide to go to a small claims court to resolve your issue with the landlord. This can include damage caused by the landlord's negligence or violations of responsibility to provide habitable rental units. The judge can issue an order requiring the landlord to make repairs, pay you for damages, fine/jail the landlord, or even place the property under receivership. Also, you can decide to go to court when the landlord fails to refund your security deposit or threatens to evict you after writing them a demand letter or reporting the building's uninhabitable condition to the authorities.

Use DoNotPay to File a Complaint or Sue Your Landlord

Writing a complaint to your landlord about a ceiling leak can seem so demanding. DoNotPay provides you with an array of services that can easily help you resolve any tenant-related problem, including:

  1. Get back your security deposits.
  2. Learn about your state's eviction laws and what protections apply in your case.
  3. Resolve disputes regarding repairs with your landlord.
  4. Resolve disputes with roommates by filling demand letters or going through small claims court.
  5. Break your lease early.

With DoNotPay, getting any of the above is not rocket science, including kicking that disturbing roommate out! We have you covered in 4 easy steps:

  1. Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.


  2. Select which issue applies to you.


  3. Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.


  4. Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.


And that's it! You should hear back from your landlord directly once your demands are sent.

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