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Heater broken in rental home? Here's what to do

Posted at 12:45 PM, Nov 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 13:48:02-05

TULSA -- Tenants who are facing maintenance problems in their rental property have options to get it fixed. 

The Tulsa Health Department said the main complaints they are getting right now are heaters not working, and the department can help. 

Renters can contact the department, who will come out and do an inspection of the property and interview the resident usually within a day. 

Kendra Wise, housing program coordinator with the Tulsa Health Department, said once they get a grasp on the problem, they will contact the property owner with a deadline for repair. If the problem is bad enough, Wise said they will send a notice that the tenant needs to be evicted. 

"If they're not willing to get out there in a couple of days to correct the problem, then they need to call us, so that we can get on it," Wise said.

Before contacting the health department, the renter should contact the landlord to let them know there is a problem. 

Teressa Webster, the Fair Housing Project Director for Legal Aid Services, said the correspondence should be done in writing and the tenant should keep a copy. She said the renter's rights are dependent on having written notice to the property owner. 

Webster said if nothing is done after that, there are options. 

"The tenant can have the repair made themselves, or they can deduct that from the rent or they can terminate that tenancy," Webster said. 

The Tulsa Health Department can help with more than just heating problems. Their inspection check list names:

  • exterior of property clean, sanitary and in good repair
  • out buildings in good repair
  • fences and gates in good repair and working condition
  • doors and windows open and close and are in good repair
  • doors have locks and can be opened from inside without use of a key
  • windows have locks and re not painted shut
  • bugs or rodents inside property
  • exposed wiring
  • carpet and floors clean and in finished condition 
  • walls and ceilings in good condition (lead based paint sealed)
  • stairs and handrails in good condition
  • light switches and electrical outlets in working condition
  • all toilets flush without any leaks
  • all sinks in working condition without any leaks
  • bathroom has a functioning vent or window that can open
  • property has running hot water
  • appliances are clean and in working condition (i.e. stove, washer, microwave) 
  • heat and air conditioning in working order and covers all rooms
  • gas appliances are vented and have an easily accessible shut-off valve
  • one smoke detector per floor near sleeping rooms

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