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FamilyAttorney
FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 675
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, licensed for 36 years as a trial and appellate attorney
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Our landlord had us sign a contract stating that he had no

Customer Question

Our landlord had us sign a contract stating that he had no legal, financial or duty to do anything. He did not charge a security deposit because he said we could use it to "fix" up the mobile home.
We paid to change the locks but his previous tenants had not moved out.
We were then threatened, cussed at and subjected to "take care of it ourselves" by the landlord.
He never once came to the property ( even though he lives in same town)
He never inspected the property or made sure the old tenants were out before we moved in he also never addressed any of our concerns once we got inside of the property and found holes in the floors where you can see straight into the ground plus rat feces and urine everywhere mold issues every code violation for electrical you could possibly imagine. We couldn't use the sink because there was a gigantic hole in it neither one of the showers or bathrooms were usable in fact there was duct tape next to the drains and no showerheads .
I actually fell through the floor and none of the vent covers we're over the duct systems leaving large holes in every room . The smell was so bad I have been hospitalized three times for either injuries broken windows holes in the floors or the toxic smell of mold . I have hundreds of pictures of the property that I took once the contract was signed and these were things you could not see because the other tenants belongings were still inside . The landlord refused to come out and meet with the tenants to get their things he called us and told us to let them in then they threatened us then all of the trash they left behind including drug paraphernalia and blood soaked and human excrement everywhere we were responsible for cleaning up and disposing of . I am disabled and my dog fell through one of the open holes in the floors and was hurt so badly she died from her injuries . When I contacted the landlord about all of these things he told me pay your rent as per your contract or I will evict you . Can he just make up whatever contract he wants to and take no responsibility for anybody's health or welfare and also not disclose anything in the home that is dangerous and deadly or toxic ?? This mobile home is so bad it is not fit for human living and all I am getting from him is threats . None of the plumbing word to the showers didn't work the toilet wouldn't flush there was a water heater sitting in the middle of the living room and there was another water heater shoved into a wall that had no covering over it plus all of the air-conditioning HVAC was rested with also no covering the walls are falling off and missing huge chunks and of course you don't know where you can step because you don't know if you're going to fall through the floor !!! Help!!
Disabled & being bullied by the worst landlord on the planet
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. What state are you in? It shouldn't make a difference but I always like to know what state people are in because answers can be different. Generally speaking, the answer will be the same no matter where you live in the US.

Please note: The answers provided here do not, under any circumstances, create a lawyer-client relationship and are provided to supply a general answer based on the facts as given by the author. The attorney is not giving advice but is answering the question in general terms. At all times, the above attorney will advise the author of the question to seek independent legal counsel. The above answers should not be relied upon by the author or by anyone else for the authoritative answer to the question. Consult with your own lawyer for your legal questions.

This landlord is indeed the worst and should be made to pay for what he has done. In almost every state, landlords are required to render a place they are renting in habitable condition, which is called a warranty of habitability. They cannot allow holes in the floor, feces in the apartment or rental, and if it is not fit for human living it is not habitable. Your landlord is violating the habitability statutes in your state. Even states which do not have strong habitability statutes in the state still have laws on the books where they cannot allow feces, toxic smells, and some states specifically provide that there cannot be mold. When there are rodents, that makes the place uninhabitable. You have so many habitability violations here. I am so sorry you are living in this condition.

There is something you can do about this. If you want to stay there, you may want to bring your landlord to court, and you should be able to do that. He cannot make you sign a contract that he's not responsible for anything. That is not acceptable. He cannot "contract away" his duties to provide a habitable place for you. The contract will generally be held to be null and void. Nice try landlord, but, no. It's not legal for him to do that!

Electrical issues, sink issues, mold issues, hospitalization -- get receipts for medical bills, etc. -- the loss of your dog -- this is just sad and I'm so sorry you're going through it. He cannot just make up whatever contract he wants to. It is illegal to get someone to agree that he is not responsible, because he is!

I suggest you see a local landlord-tenant attorney or an L&T attorney in a nearby big town or city. That attorney can tell you about bringing a legal case against the landlord for money damages. Also, the L&T attorney can let you know, under your state's laws, whether you can leave, based on what is called constructive eviction, and therefore refuse to pay any more rent, or what remedies you have. Some states allow constructive eviction, and some do not. Speak with a good landlord-tenant attorney in your area. Find someone who has been practicing at a minimum of 10 years and ifyou want some names of landlord-tenant attorneys in your area I can send them to you. However, please note : I do not know any of them personally and I cannot vouch for them. I do not know if they are any good but I can certainly give you a list of names and then you can choose who you want.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

This should cover your question no matter what state you are in. I would not wait. See if you can get a free consultation with the lawyer (ask for one on the phone). Make sure you feel comfortable with the lawyer. Make sure you mention all of the things you did here. In some states you will sue in small claims court -- here it is likely you will be in another court because there are too many damages for a small claims case. Make sure you bring your photos to your appointment. These are crucial!

Please read my answer, and please accept the answer. I would appreciate it if you can rate me. This is the only way I can get credit for the time I spent with you here today. I appreciate in advance your fair rating. Thank you for your rating. If you have any other questions based on this, please feel free to ask me and I will answer it as soon as I see it.

If you have other questions unrelated to this, please post as a separate question.

I wish you the best of luck. Nobody should have to live like this and he knows it. Get a good landlord-tenant attorney and proceed from there. Bring your photos with you! That is evidence. He cannot just make up whatever contract he wants to and take no responsibility for it. You may need to take him to a court other than small claims court because you have damages that are probably more than small claims allows. A good landlord-tenant attorney will know what to do for you. Try to get a free consultation (ask for it on the phone). You have a lot of claims against this landlord from what you state here. Make sure you tell your attorney everything, and you can make a copy of the question (and answer if you would like) to bring to your attorney. Good luck to you and your family.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

I haven't heard from you, so if you give me your state, I can let you know the specific warranty of habitability for that state. Each states spells out what the landlord must do for the tenant.

Thank you again, in advance, for rating me. I cannot get any credit for my time with you today without a fair rating. I really appreciate it. I'm happy to give you more information based on your state --you will not be charged separately for this. Thank you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm in North Carolina, sorry I've been hurting since my fall
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't have money for an attorney is this something I can turn over to the Attorney General's office with all of the photos
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I understand and I'm sorry about your injuries.

You can always call the AG's office but they're going to tell you to get a landlord-tenant attorney. This is really a private matter rather than something the AG will handle but you can always try that first. You can report this to a government agency in your state such as the board of health or other similar agency, like Building Dept. in your town, so you can try that route first. I hope you are able to succeed that way but I don't know how much they will do for you. Still, yes, it is worth a try. I wouldn't turn over original photos to anyone unless you have a double set. They may not want the photos. Send copies if you can. You will need the originals for court if it gets to that stage.

If that doesn't work, I would suggest you find a landlord-tenant attorney in your area, ask for a free consultation, right over the phone before you even make an appointment! If the first lawyer won't give you one, find another. He/she may be willing to work out a pay-out arrangement with you. You'll have to ask if that is possible. If you want to move out, that would be a constructive eviction, which you generally can do but you should consult with an attorney about that because in NC you cannot withhold rent without a court order. Also, if you want to stay there then you are going to need legal help.

I hope this helps! Thank you for allowing me to assist you.

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