seven days is a reasonable time. The nature of the problem and the reasonable availability of material, labor, and utilities are all factors that will be taken into consideration in determining how much time is reasonable. During this time, the landlord must make a diligent effort to repair the problem. For broken water pipes or sewage blockages, the reasonable time may be much shorter than seven days. For small roof leaks, a reasonable time may be longer.
It is Not Required, but It May be Wise to Call a City Inspector If the landlord has had a reasonable time to fix the problem and has not done so, you may decide to call the appropriate city or county inspector (housing, health, or fire). This may put additional pressure on the landlord if the condition violates local ordinances. The inspector may also help you decide if the problem affects your health or safety. Be sure to get a written report and the name of your inspector.
Give a Second Notice and Request Explanation After the landlord has had a reasonable time to fix the condition following your initial notice, you must send a second written notice to repair or remedy the condition. Remember, you do not have to send a second notice if you sent the first notice by certified mail, return receipt requested. You should ask the landlord in this second notice for an explanation for any delay, because if she does not respond, you will have an easier case to prove if it ever goes to court. It is a good idea to send this notice by certified mail to prove the landlord received it. Remember to save a copy of your notice. The notice should say that it is your second written notice, that you are requesting an explanation, and it MUST explain what you plan to do if the landlord does not repair the condition. You have three basic alternatives: (1) terminate the lease; (2) repair and deduct the amount from your rent (this is a tricky alternative, see below); or (3) file a lawsuit seeking an order directing repairs, damages, etc. It may be a good idea to list all the alternatives in your second notice and decide later which ones you will use. You should also consider getting other tenants, city officials, and the media involved. See "Overview."
6. Tenant Remedies If the landlord has clearly had a reasonable amount of time to repair the condition (usually seven days) and has failed to make a diligent effort to remedy the problem and you have properly followed the procedures above, you may be able to exercise one or more of the alternatives listed in your notice: (1) terminate the lease and move out; (2) have the problem fixed yourself and deduct the amount spent from your rent, but only if you follow ALL of the procedures mentioned below; and/or (3) sue the landlord for failing to repair.
(a) Terminating the Lease If you decide to terminate the lease, you must inform the landlord in your second written notice that you will terminate the lease unless the condition is repaired or remedied within a reasonable period of