While paint and other repairs may not be cause to break the lease under habitability issues, the pending repairs may be enough to get a small claims judge to teminate the lease.

Carefully document your attempts to get the repairs made in a reasonable time. Send a polite letter by registered mail, return receipt requested, asking for the repairs to be done. In the letter, offer to make yourself available if necessary for the landlord to gain access to the apartment. If you don’t feel you need to be there, give the landlord permission to enter the apartment to make the repairs without you present.

Give the landlord some time to respond to your letter, either in writing or with a phone call. Two weeks should be a reasonable time to wait for a response. When you get an answer, be sure to discuss when the repairs will be made. Confirm any agreed upon dates in another certified letter. And then be sure to uphold your end of the agreements.

In most cases, that should do it. Happy landlord/happy renter.
If you don’t get a call or a letter, write again. Be polite but firm. Ask the landlord to respond within, say, 7 days. In the meantime, check into how the small claims courts work in your area.

If you have to use a third letter, let him/her know you intend to take further action. If you still get no response, consider mediation if it is available in your area.

And when all else fails, take him/her to small claims court. Sometimes, that’s what it takes.

See also…

Landlord vs Tenant Issues

Small Claims Courts