Posted by John on February 03, 2000 at 17:15:38:
In Reply to: Re: Bad news pay your rent!! A couple of additional questions posted by Minty on February 03, 2000 at 15:20:38:
A lot of this depends on your landlord, first off your super is going to say what he thinks you want to hear. He is stuck having to deal with angry tenants when everyone else can avoid them. Also calling a plumbers office and talking with them is different then getting them out there and not being ripped off by them, trust me it is difficult. And of course if you throw enough money at any problem you can get it resolved, but a landlord is not obligated to go bankrupt. You may be talking about a landlords entire repair budget for the year for this building being blown on one major repair. And also remember that nobody wants to talk with somebody who is really angry at you, its easier to avoid them. This does not justify his behavior just recognize that in court you would need to prove that he blatantly and recklessly ignored doing the repair. As far as Warranty of Habitability I have never heard of this. There are very distinct and specific buildings codes but these only become violations if he does nothing toward making the repair. And of course it is very difficult living under such circumstances but it only becomes an unsanitary situation if you allow it to. (For instance you would make other arrangements other then use the toilet.) So the EPD would be irrelevant.
So to answer your questions #1 Not really because you would have to prove that he deliberately did this thing, the landlord did not want this to happen anymore then you. What we are talking about is the landlord being CHEAP and not doing the repair as quickly as he could have, which is a vague in nature. Difficult to prove; he can literally come up with countless reasons for why the work was hesitated. However if he hasn't started harassing you for the rent yet (or has he?) he may be amenable to prorating your rent, the truth is a decent landlord would. Which ultimately I think is the best approach. Write a letter explaining that you had to make other arrangements during this difficult situation and that you are deducting the amounts that you had to spend to compensate for being out of your apartment.(Nobody doubts that the apartment wasn't livable) Be easy on his ego, because ego largely drives battles between landlord and tenants, and I am sure he will be glad you paid anything at all. Which is easier then fighting.
#2 To open an escrow account call your bank and they will let you know how to go about this, there are different types of escrows, tell them your circumstances and they will help you. However I would forgo this until I wrote the letter and sent in the prorated rent. One month will not hurt anything, if the matter goes into litigation then put it into escrow, because at this point it will take months. If they say nothing then let it go.
So write a letter and be gently with his ego (even if it makes you sick to your stomach remembering that ultimately you win) and you will get away with prorating the rent I am sure, make sure to send in your receipts or proof of monies spent.
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