Question

Can my landlord evict me for non payment on rent when we didn't pay b/c of poor maintenance?

We moved into these apartments in June of 2008..We noticed the first week we were there that it was nasty.. We paid rent for that month..We called several times and told them about everything that was needing fixed..Our bath tub wouldn't drain, it would be full by the time we got out of the shower. Our sink still isn't fixed, it wont drain as well. We had to call the emergency number and make up a lie just to get them 2 fix our tub. Our carpet looks terrible, I am not sure if there is mold under it or not, but it is also moist all the time. We cant even walk bare foot in our own apartment without our feet turning black. I know for a fact that there is mold in all of our air conditioners because I seen it last night. I heard that 2 other tenants in the same building that we are in had to move to a different apartment because of mold.. They didn't come check our apartment for mold even after having two ppl move out because of it. I just found out yesterday about the mold. But we called and called to tell them these problems and they still did not come to fix them. So we didn't pay rent last month and now they have sent an eviction notice and we have a court date set on the 7 of this month. Is this legal?? Can we do anything about it??

6 years ago - 17 answers

Best Answer

Chosen by Asker

If you would have started your question with, I'm blind, live alone, have no friends, and rented by mail...then it would have been easier to see why you rented this place to start with..........Yes he can sue.........in order to with hold rent you need to start with a Notice of Defects.....and put the rent money to the side, so you can pay it when things are fixed, or use it to move when they are not........you need to read a book called Tenants Rights for you state, to get the details on how to do this, and learn how to rent a place,
so this dont happen again.................................

6 years ago

Other Answers

Yeah dude, its the landlord they can whatever the fuck they want. Maybe u should spend less time on Yahoo Anwsers and more time working!!

by Matt C - 6 years ago

yeah if he really wanted to but you can also sew him if you wanted to .

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by Lady Rainbow - 6 years ago

yep...I usually do a walk though before I sign a lease and dont move in until the place is in rental ready condition, like new paint , steam cleaned or new carpet, check everything sounds like it s your fault for not checking most of that stuff out before you moved in.....

by MicAle - 6 years ago

legally he can ..!!!

by mu86neer - 6 years ago

Well you were living there so you should have paid but if it says in the lease that the management is responsible for all repairs then you'll have a case. Then you could claim that the management was negligent.

by Catie - 6 years ago

You do have rights as a tenant.

I am not an expert in tenant-law, but this is a really good link to a site that covers sites that talk about tenant-law:
www.findingdulcinea.com/guides/Home...

by parkplace250 - 6 years ago

Some states have "rent withholding laws" which allow you to withhold rent, however in some states, there is a requirement that the rent be paid to an escrow agent to be held until the repairs are made.

In operation, the Rent Withholding Act, 35 P.S. § 1700-1, allows tenants whose leased premises are declared to be Unfit For Human Habitation by an authorized code enforcement agency to escrow rent with an approved escrow agent. Rent is to be deposited in escrow monthly for a period of six months- or until sufficient repairs are made by the landlord or tenant to justify the removal of the Unfit designation- whichever comes first. If the Unfit designation is not removed after six months, all funds then in escrow are returned to the tenant to keep. A new six-month period then begins and the process repeats itself at six-month intervals until, if ever, the Unfit designation is removed. If the premises is removed from Unfit status before the end of any six-month period the landlord is given all of the funds then held in escrow.

During the period of 'unfitness' the tenant may withdraw from the escrow account such funds as are necessary to make repairs and/or pay for utilities which are the landlord's responsibility but for which he or she refuses to pay. Although not stated in the Act, a property which is Unfit solely because of the lack of a utility should remain Unfit even though the tenant has used the escrowed rent to have the utility restored, otherwise, the tenant would lose the right to use the rent for the utility if the Unfit designation were lifted. The Unfit designation should only be removed when the landlord resumes the obligation to pay for the utility. The Utilities Service Tenants Rights Act should, however, provide tenants with necessary protection should the Unfit designation be lifted before the landlord resumes payment for the utility.

Tenants cannot legally be evicted for any reason whatsoever, including nuisance and waste, while their escrow payments are current. Leases, oral or written, are extended as necessary until the Unfit designation is removed. The Act is remedial insofar as it allows a tenant to use the escrowed rent to make repairs, and punitive insofar as it penalizes a landlord for allowing the premises to fall into such a state of disrepair by depriving him or her of any profits from the premises.

Source(s)

by Mark - 6 years ago

ya its legit u have to pay! the onlything u can do is take ur landlord to court because ignoring the problems are also against the law. my friend was living in an apartment without working A/C and mold and he took the landlord to court for not fixing the problems because if u are paying ur rent the landlord has to fix the problems

by smoothtinge - 6 years ago

Legally, it was your duty to report all this months ago. There are hundreds of government agencies, from HUD to the Health Department that deal with these issues, especially the mold. If you are still there, call them today and get them to come take samples and check out the carpet. Mold is the mantra.

As to the non-payment of rent, the law provides that you can withhold rent-but you must have the money & keep it in an escrow account that you set up at your bank. But, only AFTER you have proof of contacting them multiple times and they still don't fix it. Did you send certified letters demanding they address the issues? If not, proving you told them is going to be your downfall.

Now your fate rests on the judge, hope he & his wife had a good time last night. Reality is, you still live there and owe the rent.

Good luck

by Gem - 6 years ago

Every city/county is different. However, in Chicago (and probably everywhere) if there is mold in your apartment and you have notified your landlord, then he must let you out of that lease -or- he can pay for you to stay in a hotel until the mold and health risks are taken care of.

As far as dirty carpet or sink that won't drain, tough luck. But he does owe you a mold-free home. All the information you need should be printed on the back of your lease.

by Skipper - 6 years ago

yah...you agreed to a contract that you would pay and it messes up your credit with not paying. You could take it to a lawyer and see what they say

by jjseifi - 6 years ago

Unfortunately you need to pay no matter what. After you pay you need to report the slumlords to the landlord tenancy act organization.
I used to think like you and believe I was right. I called the landlord board and they told me otherwise. You can probably still pay and get rid of the eviction notice and get these matters sorted. The question is do you really want to live through all that.
Mold is a serious problem and needs to be taken care of A.S.A.P.
One phone call to the landlord board would get that taken care of. There are big fines for landlords who do not comply.
If I was you I would probably just look for another place though.
I should also say that this is in Ontario Canada and that the laws may be different somewhere else.

by epidemik - 6 years ago

In most states, you can't just with hold the rent in lieu of repairs. If that was the case, then all tenants wouldn't ever pay the rent because they would say things need repaired all the time. Yes you will receive an eviction notice if you don't pay the rent, that is probably the law in your state. Don't just call the landlord and tell them what needs fixed, put it in writing date and sign it, give it to him, and keep a copy so you have proof in court. My tenants give me a work order, dated and signed, then when we fix/repair the problem, we have them sign our work order that it was repaired. Take time dated pictures for proof also. As far as the carpet, you should have noticed that before you moved in, when you agreed to rent the apartment. Also, you have no proof that a mold problem exists, except by word of mouth. You need to call your local health department or Code Enforcement office and have them test it. If it is indeed mold, then you have a legitimate gripe. Buy some draino and a plunger for the next time that your drains aren't working properly.

by Debra G - 6 years ago

It's legal. And you can fight it. But realize that ...

There is a procedure you were supposed to follow. Within 10 days of moving in, you were supposed to provide the landlord with a written list of things that were wrong with the apartment. Without that, he can claim that you caused all those things needing repair.

For those things and others that develop after the move-in daye, if the landlord doesn't make repairs after you've requested them, you need to write a letter stating what needs repairing and giving a reasonable date that you expect the repairs to be done by - a week or 10 days for most things. If the landlord doesn't make the repairs, you write another letter and send it certified, return receipt requested, saying you'll withhold rent if the repairs don't get done, and give another 10 days or so from the mailing date.

When you do withhold rent, you're supposed to open a special bank account, an escrow account, and put the rent money in there.

Without the written proof that you filed repeated complaints, it's your word against the landlord's. Many tenants who can't pay their rent use repairs as their excuse, so the burden of proof is on the tenant.

The landlord can't just evict you, even without a lease. He has to follow the laws about it. Read up on them at www.nolo.com/resource.cfm/catID/1F6...
You will also need to check the laws for your community, but basically he must give you notice, time to pay, take you to court, etc.

Your best bet at this point is to pay the rent (or put it in an escrow account, though the judge may tell you to pay it, since you didn't give written notice before withholding it) and send a letter requesting all repairs. Go to court with pictures of the damage in the apartment. Call the local health department and ask them to inspect the place for mold and the other problems. They can force the landlord to clean up.

The judge may ask the landlord to fix things or may just find in his favor, since you didn't give him proper notice. If the rent is paid or in escrow, you can't be evicted. If the judge doesn't require that repairs be made, you'll have to go through the proper steps and file suit once you get to the rent withholding stage.

by MavistheMaven - 6 years ago

You can never simply "not pay rent." If you are seeking to withhold rent as a lever on the landlord there are a number of specific steps you must take - one-by-one - to accomplish this. They are cited in your state/city laws.

But it seems the place already had some problems that should have been evident before you moved in. Bad carpet, mold in a/c, slow-running drains and tenant problems that you could have discovered by chatting with current tenants when decided you might be moving in.

by estielmo - 6 years ago

You can't just withhold rent because of maintenance issues. The judge will want to know why you didn't notice these things when you moved in. You should document all the problems you have had and any communications you made to them requesting repairs. If I were you I'd try to settle because it really doesn't sound like a place you want to be living in anyway so go ahead and push for a termination (But not an eviction). You should get an attorney if you can.

In the future, here is what you should do:
Make a written request that the landlord fix the issues
Have proof of the issues- photos, inspection reports, etc.
If the landlord does not respond, you could fix it yourself and save your receipts and request reimbursement from the landlord
If this doesn't work then you can sue in court. You then pay rent to the court in an escrow account, and it will not go to the landlord until the court case is resolved. At all times you should communicate IN WRITING with the landlord, letting them know what you are doing and why.

by gafpromise - 6 years ago