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Is my landlord required to fix damaged or broken property that I rent?

Asked by user in Missouri.

I pay my rent, but my bathroom ceiling has broken and wet wood is falling through. Please help.

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

In Missouri, landlords are required to make repairs within a reasonable period of time.

If your landlord refuses to repair your bathroom ceiling, you should make a written request for the necessary repair to be made and keep a copy of the letter. It's a good idea to send the letter certified mail with return receipt requested so you have proof the letter was delivered. If the repair is still not made, you may need to seek assistance from a landlord-tenant attorney (try your local legal aid organization if you can't afford an attorney) or take the landlord to small claims court.

In certain situations, you may be able to have the ceiling fixed yourself and deduct the cost from your rent. This option is available if the following conditions are met:

  • The condition affects the sanitation, security, or habitability of the rental unit
  • You have lived on the property for at least 6 months
  • You have paid all rent owed
  • You have provided written notice to the landlord and allowed the landlord 14 days to respond
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