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and it is

Posted by 718 on December 20, 2001 at 17:36:17:

In Reply to: This should be an easy question... posted by Fay on December 20, 2001 at 15:29:06:

the first step to anything is to put it in writing -- write a list of complaints and explain that you are writing to him because messages have been fruitless and then mail it to him by certified mail. Odds are that he will hop on it. Sometimes people are just lazy and they will stay lazy until you scare them. I was having similar problems and the day after I sent a letter all typed up to my landlord he was out in front of the building yelling at my super and waving the letter around. Stuff was fixed pretty quickly after that. (Then he sold the building, you can read all about my saga with the new landlord in my own questions).

So start by sending him a letter and telling him that because you have tried for some time to reach him by phone and because the conditions are clearly not habitable you have no choice but to ask that he make these repairs immediately. Then write to him again in two weeks if nothing has changed. Certified mail is important because you have a paper trail, and because if he knows that you are creating a paper trail, he will act a little faster.

It might be nice to emphasize the fire danger of a broken pilot (though a lot of ovens are actually designed to be lit by hand -- if there is a little pipe at the bottom of the oven, near the door, it might be that pipe was supposed to be where you could hold a match to light the stove. the pipes get clogged because people drop matches down them, so you have to climb around like a contortionist to light the gas.) Still, point out that it is a fire danger and warn him that if it isn't fixed immediately you will notify his insurance company.

Also tell him that as he has now been advised of these conditions in writing, you intend to hold him financially accountable for any future damage to your belongings.

With all of that, you are probably still best to keep a pleasant tone, don't launch accusations, assume that it all just slipped his mind and you want to make sure it doesn't slip again. Once you start launching accusations the whole discussion gets antagonistic. Try to stick to "I am sure you mean no harm, but nothing else has worked so I must insist that you deal with it immediately."

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