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How to Fight Your Landlord

Learn how to fight your landlord legally and appropriately by knowing your rights and what steps to take.


  • Step 1: Research landlord-tenant rights Know your rights and responsibilities under federal, state, and local law. Most can be found with an internet search. Or, consult the tenants’ rights organization in your community if you have one.
  • TIP: Make sure the terms of your lease or rental agreement are clear. You don’t want to confuse whose responsibility is whose.
  • Step 2: Keep correspondence records Make copies of any written correspondence and keep notes about any phone conversations. Ask for repairs in writing and keep a copy of the letter and response.
  • Step 3: Use a mediator Consider finding a neutral third party to mediate. A mediator has no power to impose a decision, but will work to help find a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute.
  • TIP: Mediation is often free from a publicly funded program.
  • Step 4: Fill out complaint form Fill out and file a landlord-tenant complaint form. Forms are typically available through your county clerk’s office or downloadable online.
  • Step 5: Wait for response Send a copy of the complaint form to the other party immediately, and then wait a week for a response. If there is no response, send the form to the appropriate local government office.
  • Step 6: File claim Go to court and let a judge decide. If your landlord doesn’t remedy the situation, chances are they think they’re right, so your only recourse is to leave it up to a judge.
  • FACT: Generation Y outnumbers the Baby Boomer Generation by 85 million, and many of Generation Y are expected to be renters.

You Will Need

  • A computer and internet access
  • Correspondence records
  • A formal complaint form
  • Your rental agreement (optional)
  • A mediator (optional)

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