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Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I am needing to relocate by the 20th of Febuary because my

Resolved Question:

I am needing to relocate by the 20th of Febuary because my landlord has let several repairs to go untouched for several years now like the roof. I pay $625/ month, have no lease even when I have asked for one. Have prorated the check for $446.40 which is 20 days. Is there a law that states if my relocation is because of his need for repairs he is to help out with financing? I also have never been late with rent so I know that is not the reason. What would be a fair share to write the check?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Roger replied 7 years ago.
You have to give your landlord a written demand to make repairs by certified mail ( a written notice from a housing inspector is also sufficient). The landlord must have a reasonable time to make the repair -- beyond 30 days is normally considered unreasonable.

 

If the landlord does not make the repair, then the tenant may file for a rent escrow hearing. Such affirmative rent escrow allows the tenant to seek rent escrow before having to withhold rent. Many tenants, however, after giving the landlord reasonable time, withhold rent and are taken to Rent Court by the landlord. At that point, the tenant may request rent escrow. Although this is normally a faster process, it does involve some risk for the tenant.

 

If the judge does not grant escrow, the tenant may have to pay late charges and court costs.

 

To establish rent escrow, the tenant must have a case which would include the following:

  • proper notice to the landlord

  • repair which could affect life, health and safety

  • damages which were not caused by the tenant

  • a condition which has not been remedied

  • the tenant has not refused reasonable entry for the landlord to make repair

  • the tenant has a good rent record

The tenant must also have the full rent to pay to the court.

If the decision is in favor of the tenant, the judge may order the landlord to:

  • make the needed repair

  • reduce the rent to an amount that fairly represents the condition of the premises

  • order the rent to be paid to the court with a refund of part of the rent to be given to the tenant when the repairs are made

If the tenant desires, the judge may also end the tenancy.

 

The hope in a rent escrow situation is that the landlord will make the needed repairs after receiving the tenant's certified letter and that the tenant will not have to go to court. This is more likely if the tenant also files a complaint with a local housing inspector.

Baltimore City law now allows rent escrow to be used to cover items not essential to health and safety, if such were promised in the written lease or in a written inducement to rent. For example, failure to repair a dishwasher or failure to provide promised free parking.

 

This is a long, drawn out process. If you're leaving anyway, and you don't have a written lease, you should just give 30 days notice that you're moving out and there is no fuss.

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