Posted by Minty on February 03, 2000 at 15:20:38:
In Reply to: Bad news pay your rent!! posted by John on February 03, 2000 at 14:14:41:
Hey -- thanks for the response! Here's an update:
First, I did have to withhold 11 days of rent. I had no choice - I couldn't live there, and had to pay rent to someone else. I had to put my foot down.
Here was the full situation: In terms of "act of God," I allowed a few days for such circumstances. The rest of the time was a battle between the super and the landlord. The super and I had the problem figured out on the following Monday. The landlord simply delayed giving the final word because, as you mentioned, it is expensive. That doesn't change the fact that it had to be done. The super said, "SO and SO knows he can't charge you for the days you had no water."
Cooking, cleaning, and flushing the toilet were impossible (it's expensive to fill a toilet with bottled water). I have to maintain a professional appearance at work, and that would also have been impossible if I had lived there. I ended up staying with someone else, and chipping in with their rent. I have financial records.
Also, I called a few plumbing companies during this time for research purposes, and they said they would be more than willing to install a new water main (when the ground was frozen).
Fact is, the landlord's obstinancy was directly responsible for blatantly breaking Warranty of Habitability and building codes, and he knew it. I myself called the EPD twice. and there were no city problems. I suspect that it was cheaper for him to hold out for a plumber that would do it at his price, even if it meant both units in the building withholding for half of the month. Last week he wasn't answering his phone. The management company couldn't reach him (supposedly). At one point, the guy in charge at the management company stopped taking my calls. We were completely in the dark for a week, and the super was unable to give us a day on when it would be fixed.
I did do my homework, and tried to cover all the bases. Believe me, this became my second full-time job, and all for the amount of around $450.00. Sad, huh?
1. Does any of this additional information help my case?
2. I fully intend to put the withheld rent in escrow. How do I do this? Where do I go, and what form should I ask for.
I greatly appreciate the feedback!
Also, they are digging today!
: The fact is if the landlord is doing anything at all to make the repair, or if there are any acts of God at play, for instance frozen ground, then you can not withhold rent, if you do he can file to have you evicted for non payment. You cannot even with hold part of your rent. And trust me when I say a housing court judge will tell you to pay your rent. Now if you decide not to then by law you are obligated to put your rent into an escrow account holding it aside until judgement is made. If you loose in court, and there would be a good chance that you would, then you could be obligated to pay the landlords legal fees and they could be hefty. I know this is not what you want to hear, but have you ever tried getting a plumber in this city and do you really know what difficulties the landlord is having? I know you re pissed off at him/her right now but consider their situation and know that Housing Court is actually sympathetic when it comes to landlords having to make costly and difficult repairs. And a water main is a very costly and difficult to repair. So be careful about putting yourself in trouble, because in this case if the landlord is trying then he is on the side of right. WHY? Because it is well understood that the infrastructure of this city is archaic and things like this happen all the time at no fault to the landlord.
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