Maintenance and Safety

Right to a Safe Rental

You have the right to a safe rental!  That is one of the main obligations of your landlord and a necessary caveat of their renting a unit. For duties of the landlord to provide a safe rental, please refer to MCA Code 70-24-303.

Steps to Resolving a Maintenance Issue

Have you asked the landlord to fix the problem?  

It is always good to have evidence that you have asked the landlord.  If not, it will become a "he said, she said" situation.  Write a Certified Letter.  You can do this at UC Shipping Express.

Is there a property management company overseeing your rental?  

If so, you may have the option to contact the owner of the property.  Check your lease BEFORE contacting the owner.  Some companies have a provision saying that you can not contact the owner.  

Go to the Missoula County Property Tax ID webpage to look up the owner of your home and their address.  Then, send them a copy of the letter you have sent to the property manager.  Most likely, they will want to know that the property management company they are paying to watch over their home is not doing their job. 

Would you like to move out of your rental because of these safety concerns?  

Step 1: For cases where the issue is not clear and obvious, like a broken window or rotting boards, it is important to get a third party opinion to provide evidence that there is a problem. See below for instructions on how to apply for a VRIP Inspection through the City of Missoula.  

Step 2: After gathering evidence, whether through an inspection or through another contractor, pictures, etc, you must give your landlord notice of the issue and oppotrunity to resolve it. Because you will want to be able to provide evidence of your notice, mail your letter via Certified Mail (availabe at any USPS location).

Step 3: Your letter should include in the MCA Code 70-24-406.  This section of code explains that the landlord has 14 days to recitfy the issue. If on your landlord does not resolve the the problem in that time, you may give 30 days notice and break your lease.  (Refer to ASUM Legal Services BEFORE you start this process as breaking your lease is rarely a simple process!)

Voluntary Residential Inspection Program

You can apply for a free inspection!

The ASUM Renter Center has an agreement with the City of Missoula to provide scholarships for a the Voluntary Residential Inspection Program (VRIP).  When you request a VRIP through the ASUM Renter Center office, a city inspector will make arrangements to inspect your rental  for 11 health and safety violations.  The inspector will not contact your landlord or owner until AFTER the inspection. A copy of the violations is mailed to your landlord and it is then between the City and your landlord to fix it.

Applications are physically available in the ASUM Renter Center Office and are also available for download