A.D. Thompson
maintenance request

Faucets get leaky. 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 expeditiously. And if you have a good relationship with these people, even better. But regardless of whether you and your landlord exchange gifts during the holidays, it's important to always put your maintenance request in writing.

The reason to write

For starters, landlords and property managers can be busy people! Putting your request in writing makes their job easier – there is, most often, a system in place to ensure that all such requests are taken care of expeditiously, either by severity of the problem or in order received.

Second (and most important), a formal, dated communication serves as proof that you made staffers aware of the problem and provides a timeline by which the resolution, or lack thereof, can be tracked if need be.

Who to talk to

Some apartment communities have automated systems where maintenance requests can be filed online, while others require maintenance requests to be 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 – and that you will be protected in the process.

Details are important. Any necessary repairs should be meticulously described. This will ensure the landlord, handyman or technician is prepared to 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).

Be polite and professional

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.

Part of that courtesy is patience. Most maintenance issues are resolved 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.

Sample maintenance request letter

Clueless about where to start? 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 to be resolved. Simply fill in the information in brackets [ ].

Download Word Doc of sample letter


Your Name
Current Address of Your Apartment, unit ###
City, State, Zip Code

Date

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.

Thank you in advance for your speedy response.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Emergencies can't wait

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.

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About The Author

A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson spent the first half of her 25-year career behind the editor’s desk, including time at Playgirl Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel and a host of other publications, print and online. Now a full-time freelancer, she is the Orlando expert for USA Today’s 10Best.com and writes about everything from Mickey Mouse to marijuana-based tourism with equal levels of enthusiasm – and occasional bouts of the munchies.

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