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Requesting a Repair in California

California doesn't require you to make a written request for any repair that you need your landlord to address - but you should do it anyways.

You can't expect something to get fixed quickly unless you ask for it correctly so it's important to get this part right. There is a high chance that your lease has instructions for requesting repairs so start by looking there, and keep reading for what California law tells you to do when you need something fixed.

Documenting the problem
Sending written requests

Documentation of the problem

Take photos and videos of the problem as much as you possibly can. Get creative - if your heat doesn't work, take a photo of the thermostat every day. Then you'll need to bring in the big guns. Most cities in California have housing inspectors that will come to your building to document whatever is going on. This gets the issue on the public record and is super important in case you end up in a dispute.

Sending a request

In California you can make either an oral or a written request for repair. You can make the request via email, text, or anything else you feel like - but that's not recommended. To stay as protected as possible send your landlord a letter with receipt requested by selecting the certified mail option.

Your landlord is required to tell you where they or their managing agent get mail at the beginning of your lease. That means that the address you initially received has to work and be checked regularly, or else they're in violating of Civil Code 1962.

Wondering what to write? Here is an example letter:

Landlord's name
Landlord's address

Re: Request for Repairs

I am experiencing the following problems in my home: __ __ __. *Optional - mention the housing department case number if you reported the issue to local authorities.

Your signature
Your name
Your address

You need to give the landlord enough time to fix the issue after they get this letter before you can hire someone to fix it or look at other options for handling your repair.

Next steps

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.