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KimberlyLaw, Lawyer and Real Estate Broker
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4195
Experience:  13 years of experience practicing law.
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We are leasing our home and it is managed by a home rental

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We are leasing our home and it is managed by a home rental agency. To say the least the rental agency and the home owners are horrible. They unresponsive and the property owner has been somewhat harrassing and threatening. We pay our rent on time every month. We have a 2 year lease which end in April 2012. We are adult, professional people and take very good care of the home. Problem: We reported that there was an underground water leak that we thought was associated to the sprinkler system. After a 2nd email and a 10 day wait we were told to shut off the outside water valve. (my husband had already done that) The utilities are under our personal name. We received a water bill for nearly 800.00 dollars for October. I sent them a PDF copy of the bill and asked them if there was property insurance to file and who would pay the bill for the water break. I have heard nothing from them. I did receive an auto response that the email was sent but I have not heard anything about how they plan to handle the situation. The WaterOne bill is in my name. Who is responsible for the cost? If they are responsible and won't take any action, can I withhold the dollar amount from our next month's rent. I don't want a bad mark on my credit because we plan to buy a home in April of 2012. Thanks for your time. Wendy Hullinger
Hi Wendy, I am happy to assist you today.

You are absolutely within your legal rights to ask the owner to pay for the portion of that water bill that is above your normal usage. I would send a letter by certified mail, return receipt instead of by email so you have a more formal paper trail in case you need it.

Definitely I agree that you don't want to risk anything being reported negatively on your credit. So even though I think you have solid legal grounds to withhold that amount from your rent, what I would do is pay your rent in full next month and get approval from them first in writing that you can withhold it from your next payment. Otherwise they could take legal action and you would be liable for their legal fees in that case.

Good luck!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

good advice on sending the request certified. can I state that if we do not hear from from them we will "assume" that the funds will be deducted from the December rent payment. The owners have requested that we only communicate through the rental company. (which is fine by me..they are really strange) We have keep every correspondence with them since we moved in....The move out and return of deposit will be a challenge too...I just could use a bit of word weaseling for the correspondence to them....can you suggest a "'legalish" way to say or I am holding it out of the rent...if I had that kind of extra money I wouldn't be renting this house! Thanks Kimberly!

Yes, that would be fair to say that you will deduct if they do nothing. Again, keep in mind it could cause them to take legal action.

You can send it to the rental company since they are acting as the owner's agent.

I would just say "Unless I hear a response from you otherwise, the amount of xxx.xx will be deducted from the rental payment for the month of December."
KimberlyLaw and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks Kimberly....I will probably need you agan in April when we exit this place:)))
You are welcome. Feel free to contact me anytime. You can start a question with "For Kimberly" or come back to this question and send a follow up.

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