A mom writes in asking for advice about her landlord. She says that her landlord has refused all requests to have things in their home fixed, including plumbing, air conditioning, and more. This mom has already taken several steps — withholding rent, requesting an inspection from the city, etc. — and though she does plan to move her family, it cannot happen immediately for financial reasons. What should she do to keep herself and her family safe and comfortable in their own home?
A member of the community asks:
“Our landlord refuses to fix anything: Advice?
I need to vent. I’ve got 2 young kids. A toddler and a baby. Our landlord has refused to fix anything. We have no AC, our plumbing sucks, and several other things. My babies are burning up and getting heat rashes.
We tried following the laws and withholding rent so she’ll fix it, and she still refuses. We’re going to call someone from the city to inspect (it’s what we were advised) so we’ll have proof from them in case she tries to take us to court. But we’re tired of dealing with it at this point and are going to move.
BUT we have to wait until my husband’s next check-in two weeks for his pay stub (he got a raise that qualifies us for the apartments around us) until any apartments will accept us. And the hotels/motels around us are expensive for 2 weeks to stay. (600+) and I’m stressing tf out about it. Idk what to do. Does anyone have advice or even some words of encouragement? I feel like imma lose my mind.”
Community Advice for This Mom Whose Landlord Refuses to Fix Anything, Which Has Made Her Family Unsafe
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“I had this problem with my last rental. I asked for 6 months for my flooded basement to be fixed. I put one month of rent into an escrow account and it was fixed in 4 days.”
“Definitely call your town borough office & see what can be done. Get the inspector to come out & check everything. Find your lease & review it to make sure the landlord is 100% responsible for fixing things then I HIGHLY advise taking it to court before she does & make sure you keep all of the proof of all the times you have addressed the issues with her.”
“I just saw someone else said it as well, but take the initiative & find someone to come fix the problems yourself, deduct the amount it costs from the rent, and send the receipts in place of the money! Slumlords are the worst but you can fight back for sure.”
“Use the rent you are withholding to pay for it to get fixed that’s what it’s for. You have to be proactive and not complain; it’s not worth it.”
“In most states, air conditioning is not required by a landlord. Heat is essential, a/c is not.”
“If anything is a safety hazard, they have to fix it in a timely manner. A section of my floors in my kitchen needs to be replaced, but it’s not urgent or causing any danger to us. I just got a rug to cover it in the meantime. BUT the spindles in the front porch broke from weather, and they were out the next day to fix them.”
“Go down to your local courthouse file a complaint and list what needs to be fixed, they will open an escrow acct for you. Then when you pay your rent you will put in the rent money in the escrow acct. The landlord can’t collect any of the rent money until everything you’ve specified in your reasoning is fixed. It protects you as a renter and them as the landlord bc you’re still paying your rent but they can’t collect it until they fix it and this is the only legal way to “hold” rent money without being evicted or sued. My mother managed apartment complexes all my life and dealt with this. Good luck.”
“Look into renters rights, print off two copies (one for you and one for her), highlight key points, if I remember correctly you can pay a professional to come in and fix everything, use your “rent” money to pay them and can give her copies of what was done and charged. Make sure you keep the originals for you.”
“Read your lease. It will state who is legally responsible for repairs. A lot of people assume it defaults on the landlord but a lot of places are writing into the leases that the renter is responsible for repairs and rent is expected. Also, contact a real estate lawyer to discuss specific laws and options you might have.”
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