So you’ve had a roof leak for a while, making the drywall from the ceiling cave in..and who knows, maybe there is mold in there?! You called the landlord or property manager about the problem when you first noticed it, which was 2 months ago, and maybe they sounded like they were going to take care of it (and maybe they didn’t) — but you haven’t heard from them since. What do you do?

This is important. Do not stop paying rent. There is no advantage to be gained legally by withholding rent, even if the place becomes untenable. The courts do not look kindly on a tenant taking that kind of decision into their own hands.

Instead, listen to the advice given in this recent article by, “Don’t Let The Walls (Or Ceiling) Cave In On You“:

  • Be current in your rent
  • Give your landlord written notice of the problem
  • Wait a reasonable amount of time

After a reasonable amount of time has passes, take a copy of the written notice, along with the next months rent, down to the John Marshall general district court at 400 N. Ninth Street. A clerk will help you file a legal assertion.

There is a small filing fee of $56 to file assertion. We’ve even tracked down the onlinie form, DC-429, available through Virginia courts here. 

If you stop paying rent, you may still be liable for late fees and other repercussions for being late (i.e., bad marks on your credit or even eviction). You are not alone or powerless against a landlord, but you have to play by the rules that have been set up to protect everyone involved.

Have you been through this process with the courts? I would be grateful if you share your experience below in the comments, so that everyone can learn from it!