Everyone wants to phone it in these days. Unless you want to get into a he said/she said drama that will make a judge start weeping with boredom, consider adopting the mantra,

If it’s not written down, it never happened.

Yes, I know there are verbal contracts – and people can write witness statements indicating that they telephoned to complain, “on occasions too numerous to particularise”. But I’m telling you right now that a client coming into a solicitor’s office with documentary evidence makes a lawyer’s heart sing – because it makes it so much easier to run your case.

Of course, sometimes it is better to have a face to face conversation. You might need to tell your landlord that your flat’s infested with ants or the ceiling is leaking – or both. If you have a friendly relationship with your landlord you will want to let him/her know in person.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong in following up that conversation with a friendly email or letter.

Dear Larry Landlord                                                31 December 2011

I’m glad I got the chance to talk with you today and to let you know that my ceiling has been leaking and the flat’s been infested with ants ever since you started building works upstairs a week ago.

I know you want to send workmen around to deal with this as soon as possible. Please just let me know when they are coming so I can make sure I’m around to let them in.

Kind regards

Terry the Tenant

This is a nice way of letting the landlord know you’re happy to be helpful – as well as keeping a record for yourself of exactly what was said and when.

It goes without saying it’s better to keep a copy of these emails/letters. Preferably in a ring binder or electronically rather than a desk drawer – Because you never know when you might need them.