No apartment complex is perfect. Faucets leak. Bi-fold doors come off the tracks. Locks stick. Stuff, as they say, happens. And generally speaking, it's usually not a big deal.
If something goes awry in your apartment, whether one of the above issues or something else, the landlord or maintenance staff are usually more than willing to resolve the issue quickly. If you have a good relationship with these people, even better. Regardless of your relationship with your landlord, it's important to always put your maintenance request in writing.
A maintenance request is a formal letter to landlords for repairs. No matter how big or small the requested repair is, writing a formal letter when you need something fixed in your apartment is an essential step to take.
One of the perks of renting an apartment is that the landlord or property manager is legally responsible for keeping your residence safe, clean and habitable. This means that they are responsible for providing access to clean water, electricity and heat and keeping the complex secure and safe, clean, free from pests and protected from severe weather. If they are not meeting these needs, then it's time to fill out a maintenance request.
Other scenarios when you may write a letter to landlords for repairs include:
If you have a problem that cannot be fixed on your own or would require a professional to fix it, then you should write a maintenance request. This will safeguard you from making the problem worse or becoming liable for the damage.
Written communication is always important when dealing with legal contracts (the lease). Keeping a written record of issues that arise is important for several reasons. Here are the main reasons you should write a maintenance request, instead of having a verbal conversation only.
For starters, landlords and property managers are busy people! Putting your maintenance request in writing makes their job easier and helps them prioritize what needs repair.
Second (and most important), a formal, dated communication serves as proof that you made staffers aware of the problem and provided a timeline by which the resolution, or lack thereof, is trackable if need be.
Let's say you tried to fix a leaky pipe on your own but you made the problem worse. You could then become liable for the damage. If you write a maintenance request, the landlord will address the issue. This safeguards you and your lease so you won't violate the terms of it or cause unintentional damage.
Some apartment communities have automated systems where you can make maintenance requests online, while others require maintenance requests being filed in person at the office.
For the former, be sure to get a reference number and print a copy of the submission (and if the system generates an auto-response, save it!). For the latter, request a signed photocopy as proof of submission for your files.
When a problem arises, call your designated contact (whether that's the landlord or a management office) right away to let them know about the problem, but follow up immediately with a written maintenance request to ensure your problem is expeditiously tended to.
If you're a new renter, ask your landlord who is the designated contact for maintenance repairs and get their contact information ASAP.
Details are important. Any necessary repairs should be meticulously described in your letter to the landlord for repairs. This will ensure the landlord, handyman or technician can tackle the job. It's also important to remind your property manager of required notice before entry (if you can't remember, this information should be in your lease).
Now that you know when and why to write a maintenance request, we will walk you through how to write it and what to include in the letter to the landlord for repairs.
Always be polite in your communication with your landlord or property management company. Remember that should your requests go unanswered, these letters and emails will serve as proof that you followed the procedure reasonably and with courtesy.
Below is a sample repair request letter. You can use this simple format as an effective template to notify your apartment community's maintenance staff about whatever issue or issues need resolving. Simply fill in the information in parentheses ( ). You can also download a word document of the sample letter and update it based on your needs.
(Current Address of Your Apartment, Unit #)
(City, State, ZIP code)
(Landlord Or Apartment Company's Name)
(Address as Printed on Your Lease)
(City, State, ZIP code)
Re: Maintenance request
Dear (Name of landlord or manager),
I am writing to request repairs to the (appliance, heating/air conditioning, plumbing issue — be specific!) due to (reason for repair; this could include things such as broken handle, leaky sink hose, even normal wear-and-tear that would necessitate replacement).
(Describe the issue in detail here, such as the lock on the north-facing window adjacent to the driveway is broken or the air conditioning is not cooling my apartment. State the reason — even if obvious — the repair or replacement is needed.)
I have already (left a message on voicemail or spoke with someone in the office) and am following up with this formal communication.
I would greatly appreciate it if you could arrange for (these repairs/this replacement) as soon as possible. Please contact me at (phone/email) if you have any questions or need to make arrangements and let me know when the work will be completed.
Thanks in advance for your speedy response.
If your issue is dire (a broken pipe is flooding your apartment), find the “emergency maintenance" number on your lease and call right away. In fact, that's a good one to write down and keep handy should such a need ever arise.
Most maintenance requests find resolution within a very reasonable amount of time. Afford your maintenance staff at least a couple of days to get to yours. If the problem is more severe (for example, it's the height of winter and your heat is not working), there are usually laws that govern how much time a landlord has to respond. Look up your state's laws so that you're in the know.
If it's not an emergency repair, then be patient and know that your maintenance request will occur within a reasonable amount of time.