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Always put your maintenance requests in writing

You likely don't communicate in writing that often, unless it's a text message. When talking to your landlord about potential repairs, though, it may be the best way to go. A quick phone call or a chat in the hallway may seem like the fastest way to get the work done, but it's not necessarily your best option.

In fact, some experts recommend sending your repair requests by certified mail. This way, your landlord can never say that the letter didn't arrive. It makes your paper trail even stronger than just keeping a copy of the letter for yourself -- though you should do that, as well.

The paper trail is important for numerous reasons. If the repairs never happen and you finally decide to break your lease, they give you the stronger legal position if your landlord tries to come after you in court. You can show that he or she was negligent and forced you to live in an unsafe home or apartment, making it imperative that you break the lease for your own safety.

Naturally, the paper trail also helps if you are injured. That loose banister that never got fixed causes you to fall down the stairs; that outdated wiring that was never upgraded causes a house fire. Your landlord may try to claim that he or she had no idea there was ever a danger. If you can show that you actually alerted the landlord to the risks well before the accident, it strengthens your position when seeking compensation.

You could be facing high medical costs after an accident, and it's crucial that you know all of the legal options that you have.

Source: Brick Underground, "The 7 best ways to get your landlord to fix stuff in your apartment," Virginia K. Smith, accessed Oct. 19, 2017

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