Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney. Thanks for your question, but I'm certainly sorry for your predicament.
You have a right to stay in the property until a court enters an eviction order, and USUALLY a court will give the tenant 10-30 days to vacate depending on the circumstances. And, you certainly have the right to ask the judge to give you some additional time to move out because you're having trouble finding somewhere else to live. The judge will try to be accommodating, but he/she isn't likely to allow you to remain for months.
As for your right to file a counterclaim for damages, you certainly can do that. You can sue for the landlord breaching the lease by failing to repair the heater - - at the very least, the cost of repairs should come off of what you owe in rent. Asking for the utility bill increase because of the use of electricity may be a stretch BECAUSE you could have paid to have the heater repaired, which would likely have been cheaper than the increased utility payments. You can ask for this, BUT it will be a little more difficult to get an award for that.
if I wasn't clear before, I did pay to have the heater repaired...and then he demanded that we split the cost of the repairs. he didn't ask me he demanded that.
one of my questions is that since the lease identified it was his responsibility to maintain the property, shouldn't he pay for all the repairs? his next move was to remove part of the heating system - the propane tank. the deputy that came out when I complained that this was life threatening to me stated that he had in her opinion at the removal of a utility enacted an unlawful eviction at that time. she said that when a landlord removes a utility to make someone move it is in fact considered an unlawful eviction but not a criminal event. so again my question is that since this landlord has never performed according to the lease or provided a modicum of reasonable maintenance shouldn't I be able to ask the judge to have him live up to the lease? or at least get a good extension for staying since I have paid out all the money I have / had during this time frame to paying for maintenance that the landlord should have done.
then what does the americans with disabilities act provide for someone in my dire straights? I entered into this lease in good faith, the landlord scammed me from the beginning and now all my money is gone? I need several months of reasonable utilities to be able to scrounge together the $1200 it took to move in here, the money for repairing the heater, and so on. I am not yet recovered from the move much less paying for all the stuff that I did.
been scammed from the beginning...
Hi - thanks for writing back.
YES, if the lease says he will cover all repairs, then he should do just that. Usually, if the landlord refuses to cover the costs, the tenant will take the money for the cost of repairs and take it off of the next month's rent to even things out. If you didn't do that, then you would be able to seek the cost you paid for the repairs - - the entire amount.
If the landlord removed the propane tank to force you to move, that was illegal and you certainly could have acted on that immediately. BUT, your recourse is to file complaints with the court to require the landlord to comply with the lease.
Unfortunately, your recourse is not going to be to ask the court for more time to stay in the property. IF you have more months left on your lease, and IF you are not in default, then you could request to be allowed to stay for the remainder of your lease. However, if the lease term is up or if you are also in default, then you should not expect to be given a protracted period of time to remain there.
IF you are in default because you have had to pay for the repairs - - and if the repairs are as much or more than the rent due - - then you certainly could make that argument as well and claim that you should be given credit for the cost of repairs and be allowed to continue your tenancy. This would ONLY work if the repairs are at least as much as the unpaid rent.
The ADA would protect you if you were being discriminated against in some manner because of your disability. I don't know if that's the case or not, but it sounds more like its a breach of contract matter and doesn't relate to the ADA. Also, the ADA doesn't provide rights or extended protection for renters in terms of time to vacate upon eviction.
Please let me know if you have more questions.
I think we are getting there. are there laws to cover the cost of repairs being paid by landlord or is it simply because the contract say so?
so it is a tort thing...can the landlord not pay for repairs - make me pay for them - and then use another paragraph of the lease to have me move out?
could I claim the costs of the repairs in this action or do I have to file a different law suite? ie will the judge rule of my costs or just address the issue of eviction?
if the law of the county is 60 days notice and the lease says 30, will the judge uphold the 60 or go by the lease....is the lease valid for some paragraphs still when the landlord never provided reasonable maintenance on the property?
is the rent still due if maintenance is not done or part of the heating system is removed in the middle of the winter? ie if the landlord does not provide the property as described (with heat) is the rent still due? if not, is there a law or regulation that covers that?
aren't there laws - federal or something else - covering removing part of the heating system in the middle of the winter?
It was even physically painful...I almost started going to a counselor because I got very depressed about the whole situation.
thanks for your help; pl let me know how to find the references I might need in court. I have no one to go with me.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).