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Lease Renewal Problems---I'm Desparate for Info!

Posted by Staying Put, for now! on June 25, 1998 at 00:26:57:

I'm sorry if this is long but I want to give details so I can hopefully get a concise answer because I'm not sure how much time I have.

I moved into a privately owned duplex in Philly on July 11, 1997 and at the time there were some repairs that needed to be done (no closet door, central ac wasn't working, etc.) and my landlord (whom I hung out with as kids) agreed he would complete them.

It took 1 1/2 months just to get the ac fixed, then in 11/97 there was a flood in my bathroom. It resulted in a gaping hole in the wall and ceiling not to mention other damage that extended to the kitchen due to the negligence on his part. From Nov. till April I repeatedly asked him to have the repairs completed and only the hole was fixed on 4/15/98.

In May the central ac broke again and I found this site and began weighing my options to get all the repairs done. On May 18th I wrote him a letter (which I kept a copy) stating that I wanted him to make the repairs by 6/8 or I'd have someone make the repairs and pay them out of my rent. I had all the repairs listed and dates I'd contacted him (even the 1 repair he did fix).

On May 22nd my LL's wife entered my house, unaware that I was home and sleeping at the time. She never rang, called or gave any notice. She quickly went out the door when she heard me in my room but told me she needed let a utility worker in to install a meter. I let her know my displeasure by not answering the door when she returned with the worker 5 minutes later.

On May 27th, I found a letter on my sofa (I'm not really sure when it was put there because I had a pile of mail there for a while). The letter (which wasn't mailed or postmarked) said that my LL "would not be renewing my lease and I'd have to move out by June 30th." No reason was given. I called him and he said it was due to the upstairs neighbor (70 yrs. old) threatening to move out because of me and he would have to redo her entire apt., causing him too much money (my apt. was redone just before I moved in). She had constantly complained, to him not me, that I made too much noise at night (even though it was only low conversation, no music). (And it's OK that she gets up and stomps around starting at 5:30a.m. every day!)

I now think the real reason is that I asked for the repairs and threatened to withhold his rent to pay for them, but never-the-less, I looked at my lease which didn't specify how much notice he was required to give for not renewing the lease, and, the term of the lease had the same date (from 7/1/97 to 7/1/97). There was a clause that said he had the right to put out a rental sign 60 days prior to me moving out. (Prior to reading the lease again, I told his wife verbally that he needed to give me 60 days notice and since I didn't become aware of the non-renewal I wouldn't be out till July 27th)

I found that he entered my apt. again when I wasn't home! I knew this because I placed a slip of paper in the door to alert me to someone entering without my knowledge (an old Rockford Files trick). I didn't say anything yet because I want to save it as my ace in the hole if I have to.

He's never addressed the repairs I requested and assumes that my security deposit is covering June's rent but left a message on my machine that I could stay until 7/10 but he'd be personally moving in the apt because his new house isn't finished yet. I never returned the call because I'm trying to find out what my rights are.

My intentions are to wait till after July 1st (which could be said is the expiration of my one-year lease) when it will turn into a month-to-month as my lease states "if I'm in possession after July 1st it converts to a month-to-month". After July 1st, I'll inform him that I won't be leaving until July 27th. I'm sure he'll be upset and probably threaten to evict or worse, but I feel I have the right since it is so vague in my lease and he's infringed on my rights to quiet enjoyment. Also, I don't intend to pay July's rent because he never fixed the repairs.

Is this an OK way to proceed? I apologize for the length but I'm desparately waiting for your response. Thank you very much.

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