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Old 05-13-2008, 10:10 AM   #1
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Default Landlord issues? (Landlord does not take any actions to maintain the properties)

Ok, my landlord owns several properties and does not take any actions to maintain them? I have spoken to him (and shown him) about my windows. They are so mold infested that 2 windows are actually breaking away from the house, and 1 windowcill actually FELL OFF when I opened the window. The mold is so bad, it's completely encased the windows and stinks to high heaven. The windows are not safe, because if you push on them you will fall out the window! His idea of fixing them is "put clorox on it" when there isn't anything left to put clorox on really? The wood has just disintigrated away? I have small children and feel it's unsafe! We all have allergies and I have asthma. I can't open 1 window at all as he painted it shut! I cannot put any air-conditioners in as they will fall through the rot? He has made it very clear he will not be addressing these issues or any others? I have no gfi plugs near any water in the house? I can't get him to do anything at all? What I want to know is if he's unwilling to make any repairs to his own property, can I break the lease and leave legally? It's not a safe/sanitary place at all and all the things he should do, he wont. If he does do anything he does it half assed and illegally? What can I do?? We moved in in December and the windows were closed & covered so we didn't realize the state of disarray? The downstairs window doesnt even shut properly or lock? The ventilation is very poor? Please help.
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Old 05-14-2008, 10:43 AM   #2
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Default re: Landlord issues? (Landlord does not take any actions to maintain the properties)

To give you exact information I will need your state, since state laws vary. But generally, let me address the 2 main issues you list.

First the windows: Although you have shown him the windows, you need to do the following to have proof for a court: Write a letter listing the needed repairs and mail it to him by certified mail, return receipt requested. In the letter, ask that he contact you within the next week to tell you when repairs will be made. Keep a copy of this letter and file the post card away that comes back (to prove he received it). This written record will be used to show any court that you asked for repairs and that he failed to do them. That is the first requirement before you can take any further action or remedy against the LL (like rent withholding, repair & deduct, or breaking your lease.)

If the LL does not contact you and does not begin repairs quickly (you need to check your state law to see how quickly - some states allow a LL up to 30 days to do non-emergency repairs), you can look at your options. One option is to contact the city inspector or the health department (the next recommended step). They will inspect and write up an official report (very good to have to prove the problems' extent). The city building inspector can cite and fine the LL to fix the problems. You can talk to the court and ask that the LL be ordered to repair, see if rent withholding is an option (it is not legal in all states - you have to check and follow court procedures EXACTLY!), or see if you can repair & deduct. You need to follow these procedures step by step are required by the court - if you don't do them correctly you can be evicted. If you follow them correctly, he cannot evict you. You may also be able to terminate you lease (I assume you have one) and just give notice and move out. Having the letter, the postcard that shows you sent him and he received the request to repair, and having the official report from a county or city agency are excellent (CYA) proof for a court later in case he would challenge whatever remedy you take because he will not repair. These will make your case for any judge. Do this immediately.

One final note - not all buildings require GFCIs in kitchens and bath. Although this is the new electric code, not all buildings must meet this code now. Some buildings are grandfathered in under the old codes - the ones that were in effect when the building was last remodelled. If GFCIs were not required at that time, the building may be allowed to continue without them. An example - I bought an old house, circa 1900, 3 years ago. It still had the old knob and tube wiring from the 40's & 50's in the house, had numerous fuse boxes, and a knife switch to turn off the main power (think of the big switch that Igor throws in Dr. Frankenstein's lab). These certainly did not meet current code. But since the same family had lived in the house since 1920 and no remodels had been done to it, these things were still legal to have. The house had been grandfathered under the old code from way back when and did not have to be updated to the new code until I wanted to do a complete remodel of it. (Of course, I immediately redid the entire electric service to bring it to code anyways.) But the point is, had I wanted to do nothing to it, it could have remained just as it was. Your building may or may not be grandfathered so GFCIs may or may not be required. This would also depend on any local or city statutes you have. (Just thought you should know.)

So send this letter out now and let me know what happens. Give me your state and I can list what options are available (legal) in your area.
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Old 07-18-2008, 05:30 PM   #3
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Default re: Landlord issues? (Landlord does not take any actions to maintain the properties)

if u contact the health department be prepared for a fight in court,, this just happened to us out of vengence during an eviction,, the tenant lost because he called them after he did the eviction and because the judge cannot look at anything that the health department gives to the tenant,,, the landlord should fix all those things but if he dont as long as u have requested these things in writing u will have that for court,,do not do anything out of vengence because it may bite u in the long run ,, keep copy's of everything u have and take pictures of everything ,,, if all those things are as unsafe as u say they are u should be able to break your lease ,make sure u have a paper trail,,, i am a landlord and if someone wants out of there lease we just honor it ,,, we do not go after them for the full years paments,, that lease is there for your protection and for the landlord's ,, ur not alone and i feel ur pain,, there are alot of good tenants out there ,, but there are alot of very bad ones as well that really tear the places up and cost the landlords alot of money to do the repairs
good luck
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