Posted by Kevin Willcutts on September 16, 1998 at 13:59:13:
In Reply to: What's a "reduction in service"? posted by India Amos on September 12, 1998 at 20:04:03:
DISCLAIMER, I'm speaking from Texas law...but by standard law I'm sure
most states have.
Reduction in service is questionable here once he installed a working stove,
but you do have actions you can take. First, and you'll probably hate
yourself for this, but the moment that stove stopped working the
Habitability Statute kicked in, with (in Texas) a 3-day countdown. A stove
is a necessity item if it was there when you moved in. He must replace
within 3 days, afterwhich you can IMMEDIATELY replace for reduction in
rent. There is no 7 days notice required on Habitability repairs. In fact,
some items have a 1 day countdown (like sewage backups).
So, you missed a golden opportunity to replace with a reasonably-priced
new one. I doubt you can pursue this avenue now that you waited 2 months.
However, that does not mean you cannot try a suit for past Habitability
violations with reduction of rent for that time period as your claim and
a new stove. That is a strong approach you can take. When he receives
notice of the suit, offer to drop it if he installs a new stove. But,
obviously, don't drop the suit till he complies.
To answer your title question: Reduction in service is not providing what
is in the lease and not maintaining the apartment in working order as it was
when you signed the lease. So, technically, it is in working order now.
Lease laws will have no word concerning installing cheaper appliances,
that is more of a deceptive trade practice action.
What worked for me once is stating in writing that you do not accept the
"new" stove as adequate replacement for what was there when you signed the
lease. In fact, you would not have signed the lease with this stove. State
the 2 months prolonged wait was unconscionable (a key word) on his
part considering his Habitability requirements (state that) and showed
extreme patience on your part, the replacement is a bad faith attempt
to maintain the property and you demand a new stove same or
similar make. Give him 7 days after receipt of notice to replace
the shitty one, and state when the 7 days expires you will buy a
reasonably priced new one and deduct from rent (include installation
and extended warranty). This will get his attention. If you want to
compromise, say you'll buy a used one for under $150 (which should be
Also note, he is NOT allowed to retaliate against you should you
follow through. Again, this avenue I mention
is not really covered by laws, but the procedure for notifying
landlord of using your repairs for deduction in rent option is.
You should look that up.
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