It should not be hard to get your landlord to make repairs. If it is, then you have seriously chosen the wrong living situation. Most of the time, before you get into a rental situation you have some idea of the sort of person you’re dealing with.
Some things to look out for before you move in are: the feeling of being rushed through your application process. If your potential landlord seems hurried and out of it for no good reason, you have to ask yourself if this is how you want any issues dealt with if something comes up during the period of your rental. Another sign to look for is if the property is in good condition already. Is it clean and well maintained? If it isn’t, is there any good reason why it’s not? Does that reason make sense? Before you sign a lease, ask your landlord what her policy is on repairs and what she takes care of and what—if anything—she won’t take care of. Make sure a maintenance clause is in the lease you sign.
If you sign a lease that doesn’t cover maintenance issues then you might be in for some serious trouble down the road. If you really like the property, ask her to amend the lease, or draw a maintenance clause up with your own lawyer and have her sign it to insure that you are protected.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a landlord that will not do maintenance, and your concerns are not covered in your lease, you have no choice but to consult with a lawyer.
You need to take pictures, get an estimate from a contractor and visit a lawyer as soon as possible. You should probably let your landlord know that you are going to see a lawyer to give her one more chance to just take care of it. This will make it easier for both of you in the long run. But if she still ignores your needs, head for the attorney.
There may be some state laws that require your landlord to deal with the matter. The lawyers can write letters to your landlord informing her of her legal obligations to you. Letters will often work in this scenario. If they do not then, you might have to take your landlord to court. Your lawyer will help you if it comes to this. But if you do have to take your landlord to court, your landlord might end up paying you money in the end rather than you having to pay her rent every month.