Repair Requests

It is important to notify the landlord as soon as you notice something needs repair. Most rental agreements require you to do this. You could end up having to pay for damages if you wait too long. You should always ask for repairs in writing, even if you call the landlord to report the problem first. Make a copy for yourself before you mail it or deliver it.

The landlord is required to start repairs in a certain amount of time, starting from when you make a written request. The requirements are:

  • Within 24 hours if you're without water, electricity, or heat in the winter or if there is a life/safety issue
  • Within 72 hours if your refrigerator, oven, or stove are not working or you have a major plumbing issue with your sink or bathtub
  • Within 10 days for any other repair request

You can call the Renting in Seattle helpline at (206) 684-5700 or make an online complaint if there are repair issues in your home that are not getting fixed. An inspector will come to your home to look at the problem and contact the landlord to get the repair made. You have other legal rights when landlords don't respond to serious repair issues. You should contact a lawyer if you want to discuss breaking the lease or repairing the item yourself and deducting the cost from your rent payment. (Call 2-1-1 for information about free or low-cost legal services.) Withholding your rent is risky and you could be evicted.