Tenant rights?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2008 2:56 AM GMT
    About a week and a half ago, my apartment flooded in the living room. I told the landlord and she said that is was probably the drain outside my door was probably full and needed emptied. She said she'd get a plumber out there to fix it. A week later, my apartment flooded again. She hadn't called the plumber yet. This was Christmas Eve by the way. So the plumbers came and snaked the drain and the maintenance man came with a shop vac and took care of the water.

    So... tonight my apartment is flooding again.

    My problem is that I called her and she said she'd have the plumber come back tomorrow. I asked if the maintenance man could come and take care of the water and she said I'd have to wait until the morning. I asked if he could come tonight and she copped an attitude with me and said "Do you even want him to come at all?"

    So here's the question. Can I break my lease at this point?I just want to get out of here if this is how they take care of things.

    No one from the real estate agency has checked the drain. There is no real proof that was even the problem. So here I am with a half inch of water on my floor with no one giving a rats ass about my furniture or anything. What should I do.

    I live in Pennsylvania if that's important.

    Thanks,

    Chad
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2008 3:04 AM GMT
    Hmmm. That's an interesting question. You should look over your lease with a lawyer and look in to it. You do have rights though a a paying tenant.
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    Dec 27, 2008 3:07 AM GMT
    First of all, take pictures, lots of them. Secondly, make a log of every time you contacted your landlord and what the result was. Thirdly, send certified letters to your landlord with a copy of your log stating what happened or what didn't happen.

    I believe you can start withholding rent and place it in an interest bearing account if there's a problem with your residence that hasn't been taken care of. But, you'd need to check the laws in your state before doing that. The certified letters to your landlord will usually get things moving though.

    You should also get renter's insurance. This would cover damage like this if it happens again.

    Good luck man.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2008 3:10 AM GMT
    http://tenant.net/Other_Areas/Penn/harris/pa-toc.html

    Watch out of Landlords[ladies]; a lot of them are scum bags and only care about getting your money! I'm in the process of suing my old landlady
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    Dec 27, 2008 3:12 AM GMT
    Mycro, record (i.e. audio like with your camera) every conversation between you and your landlord in case she tries to lie later on.
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    Dec 27, 2008 3:14 AM GMT
    Halltd said it. Get Renter's Insurance. It's not alot and also taking pictures and keeping a log of the incidents is a good idea. You will need something to prove against the Landlord should they decide to catch a case of amensia.


    Recording a conversation is a bit tricky because you will have to inform them that you are recording the conversation otherwise you could run into some legal problems and the conversation could be dismissed.
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    Dec 27, 2008 3:15 AM GMT
    Call your city/council. They should have an office that can advise you on what you can and can not do as well as what your landlord's responsibilities are. KEEP PAYING YOUR RENT! There is a procedure for halting payment but that usually involves your rent payment being 'held' by a responsible authority (e.g. the courts). Also, review your lease contract; it may have a clause that can help you - such as ending the lease if you and your landlord mutually agree on it. Definitely send your landlord registered correspondence. You have a right to get the matter resolved in a reasonable amount of time. Your landlord may be liable for any damage that your personal property has suffered - check your lease (the fine print).

    Good luck - I have been through the exact situation!
  • ep83

    Posts: 144

    Dec 27, 2008 5:22 AM GMT
    All of this depends on the specific circumstances and the language of the lease. The best advice is to consult a lawyer, but here are some things that may help you:

    Pennsylvania has adopted the Implied Warranty of Habitability, which means that landlords have a duty to maintain a residence in a condition that a reasonable person could live in. However, different courts set the bar at different levels, so just because you are flooding doesn't mean you are in the clear. If a breach is found these are some of the common results: you can break the lease, you can have repairs you paid for deducted from your rent, you can withhold rent during the period of the landlord's breach without facing eviction. However, since a breach is only found after the fact it's better to try to resolve it with the landlord and certainly talk to a lawyer about your specific lease and situation.

    This should also help, it's the repairs section of the PA tenant-landlord handbook: http://www.tenant.net/Other_Areas/Penn/harris/pa-part2.html

    But again, check with an actual lawyer because each lease and fact situation is different.

    If your landlord/real estate agency continues to give you problems or is gratuitously unresponsive you should also consider reporting them to your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2008 6:00 AM GMT
    call a lawyer asap!!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2008 4:50 PM GMT
    Thanks for the advice guys. Hopefully I can get out of here before all my stuff gets ruined.
  • Sparkycat

    Posts: 1064

    Dec 27, 2008 5:24 PM GMT
    Try calling the Office of the State Attorney General. They probably have a consumer protection division, and someone can give you advice on what to do to get out of your lease.
  • Sparkycat

    Posts: 1064

    Dec 27, 2008 5:27 PM GMT
    The landlord has a legal obligation to keep the premises habitable. Being flooded plus the potential health risk of all the bacteria and other nasty stuff that might have come up out of the drain certainly makes it an unsafe premises.