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Can your landlord ignore maintenance requests?

If you're a renter in Illinois, your house has to be habitable. If you see something dangerous—like an exposed wire in a socket or a broken railing on a balcony—your landlord has to make the repairs quickly after you report the problem. Otherwise, you could be injured and sue, blaming the landlord for the accident. However, you should know that it is your landlord's right to ignore you in some instances, not making repairs, even if you request it.

This is typically only allowed for small repairs that aren't deemed to be dangerous. For example, the faucet in your kitchen might drip a bit too much, wasting water and annoying you. The baseboards may be scuffed up or cracked. There could be tiles in the bathroom that are dirty and discolored, or the grout could be worn down.

These things can make your house or apartment less attractive, but that doesn't mean the landlord has to fix every little thing that you don't like. He or she is not obligated to take on every requested repair job.

Of course, many landlords will do these things because they don't want you to move out. If you are annoyed by the dripping faucet, you could leave when the lease runs out, and the landlord may invest his or her time—especially when it's an easy fix—to keep you happy. Just don't assume that the landlord is legally obligated to do so.

Tenants sometimes sign paperwork and move in without really considering their rights and the landlord's duties, but it can be very important to know all about this, especially if someone is injured on the property.

Source: FIndLaw, "A Tenant's Rights to Landlord Repairs," accessed July 30, 2015

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