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What to do if your apartment needs critical repairs

Landlords have a legal responsibility to keep the property in a habitable condition. If the landlord or property manager fails to make necessary repairs in a timely manner, Maryland tenants may have recourse. Failure to follow the proper channels and simply withholding rent can potentially result in eviction.

Review the steps to take if your apartment or rental unit has fallen into disrepair with no response from the property owner or manager.

Establish an escrow account

The state allows you to pay your rent into an escrow account held by the District Court in your area. However, you must provide notice to your landlord before taking this step. The escrow solution applies only to cases involving seriously inadequate or dangerous apartment conditions, including rodent infestation, failure to dispose of sewage properly, lack of utilities except for failure to pay by the tenant, any significant health or fire hazard, a hazardous structural defect, or the presence of lead-based paint.

Make a report to the municipality

If the apartment’s condition does not meet the standards set by your local municipal code, you can file a complaint with the town or city. The proper authority will investigate and cite the landlord if appropriate; this will require property management to bring the unit up to local code.

If you face this situation in your Maryland apartment or rental home, carefully document the case so you can make a report. Take time-stamped photos or videos of the damage and keep track of attempts to make repair requests to the property manager in writing.