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LandlordTenantAnswer, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 26769
Experience:  Landlord-Tenant Disputes, Leases, Evictions, Foreclosures.
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Our landlord is suing us and we have a hearing on Monday. We

Customer Question

Our landlord is suing us and we have a hearing on Monday. We did not pay November's rent and told them to use our security deposit. We have already paid December's rent as we provided first and last month's rent.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: THis is in PA
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: The reason we did not pay November's rent is because the landlord has ignored all of our requests for maintenance to be done on the property.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The landlord also had a shutoff notice for their electric taped to our front door by accident and a constable came looking for the landlord and my husband had to provide ID proving he was not the landlord. We are afraid they will not have the money to pay us our security deposit back and that is why we did this (our security deposit is $1,600). Now they have sued us and are asking we be evicted immediately, even though we have paid December's rent and have a new apt. as of December 17. I'm scared that I will go to court on Monday and not only have to pay them, which is fine, but also be evicted.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  LandlordTenantAnswer replied 7 months ago.

Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help with your question and concern

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  LandlordTenantAnswer replied 7 months ago.

I certainly understand the situation and your concern. Please allow me a moment to respond.

Expert:  LandlordTenantAnswer replied 7 months ago.

You could have a legal defense and prevail, if the proper steps were followed.

You have the right to deduct the cost of necessary repairs from future rents if the landlord fails to make repairs. To protect your rights under the implied warranty law, you must complete the following steps:

Step 1 - Tell the Landlord About the Problem. Tell your landlord, in writing, what the problem is and what you plan to do about it. For example, tell your landlord that you will withhold your rent if he/she does not make the requested repairs. Send a letter by certified mail. Keep a copy of the letter to prove that the landlord was notified. A sample letter is provided in this brochure.

Step 2 - Allow Your Landlord Time to Repair. The law gives your landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs. The amount of time depends on the seriousness of the defect. If it is an emergency, the landlord is required to act quickly. For example, if you are without heat in the winter, it is reasonable to expect the landlord to provide heat within 24 hours. In the case of a non-emergency the landlord would have more time. For example, the landlord may have 30 days in which to repair a furnace during the summer months.

Step 3 - Show That the Landlord Did Not Make Repairs. It is important to give the landlord notice and to have evidence that the landlord did not make repairs. A copy of the letter sent to the landlord can be used as evidence; so can pictures, witnesses, or the report of a housing code inspector.

Step 4 - Repair and Deduct. If the landlord does not make the repairs, you can repair and deduct. You should not repair and deduct for repairs that exceed the monthly rent. If the rent is $300.00 per month, then the amount deducted for the repair should not exceed $300.00. Seek legal help if the repair is costly.

The amount paid for the repair must be reasonable. If you are sued in court by the landlord for nonpayment of rent, you may have to pay the landlord the amount that the court found unreasonable. The court will not hold a landlord responsible for a repair(s) that cost(s) an excessive or unreasonable amount of money. Shop around for a repair person. Get a couple of estimates before having the repair made. After the repair is made, send a copy of the receipt for the repair to the landlord with the next rental payment, less the cost of repairs. Keep a copy in your records.

Remember the repair must fix a defect that affects your right to safe, decent housing. The court will not require the landlord to pay for a cosmetic repair.

If this did not happen, then the rent would be owed, as the deposit is to be used for repairs or damages and can not simply be applied, at your own discretion, to the November rent. If this is not settled or cured, the Judge can order the eviction

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
if we agree to settle do they have to accept the payment or can they still go to court and have us evicted even though we are willing to pay and will be moving December 17 anyway.
Expert:  LandlordTenantAnswer replied 7 months ago.

They can still proceed but if they have your last months rent and you pay this months rent and they have your deposit, there is no need for them to want to do that, unless they think you will destroy the rental.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
If they were normal people I would agree. I guess my question is, if we go to court and have agreed to pay them, will the judge still evict us. We have paid every month on time and have not given them any reason to believe we would destroy the property. We are middle class, middle aged, white collar employees. We just want to be done with this.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
We also never received the hearing notice and since we share an address with our landlord (as well as a mailbox) we can only assume it ended up with them.
Expert:  LandlordTenantAnswer replied 7 months ago.

I think the Judge may send this to mediation and you can offer to pay and resolve this and the Judge will try and help them accept it but they can not be forced. If you want this done, you can call them today and settle and offer to pay before court and ask that they dismiss this.

Expert:  LandlordTenantAnswer replied 7 months ago.

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions or need any clarification on something which I stated above. Also, remember to rate my service at the top of this page, before exiting the site, so I can receive credit for my help. I hope you found it to be 5 STARS! Only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. If you feel the need to click either of the two lower ratings to the left, please stop and reply to me. I want to make sure your experience with the site was as pleasurable as possible and that you are satisfied with the help I provided.

Expert:  LandlordTenantAnswer replied 7 months ago.

I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!

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