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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32136
Experience:  16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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Im a current tenant in a rental apartment. The municipal utilities

Customer Question

I'm a current tenant in a rental apartment. The municipal utilities services came out to ignite the pilot light on a gas range and measured a CO reading of 48 or approx. 98% above acceptable levels. As a result, the gas valve was shut off and manufacturer notified along w/ landlord. Since, there is a differing opinion as to the cause as both the manufacturer and city have reinspected the range. What, if any, is the legal recourse if I was to forgo payments until the range issue was resolved? Also, what legal action is available to ensure the landlord had the range inspected by a certified technician and new CO readings after the issue is corrected? (Note: To date, the landlord has been reluctant to view this as her issue, even after the manufacturer submitted their estimation as to the cause of gas leak)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

In which state do you reside? On what basis is the landlord indicating that it may not be her responsibility to make the necessary repairs? It is safe to live in the property?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Virginia. The landlord believes the manufacturer is at fault as the range was installed 1 year ago and is under warranty. The gas line has been shut off by municipal utilities, and therefore the gas isn't circulating through the line.
Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.

I see. Thank you for providing this additional information, Geoff.

Even if the range is under warranty, between you and the landlord, it is the landlord's obligation to ensure the problem is timely repaired unless you agreed otherwise in the lease.

VA code does permit a tenant to take certain actions where a landlord fails to make a major repair as set forth below:

§ 55-248.23. Wrongful failure to supply heat, water, hot water or essential services.

A. If contrary to the rental agreement or provisions of this chapter the landlord willfully or negligently fails to supply heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or other essential service, the tenant must serve a written notice on the landlord specifying the breach, if acting under this section and, in such event, and after a reasonable time allowed the landlord to correct such breach, may:

1. Recover damages based upon the diminution in the fair rental value of the dwelling unit; or

2. Procure reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord's noncompliance, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord's noncompliance, as determined by the court.

B. If the tenant proceeds under this section, he shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees; however, he may not proceed under § 55-248.21 as to that breach. The rights of the tenant under this section shall not arise until he has given written notice to the landlord; however, no rights arise if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of his family or other person on the premises with his consent.

 

So you must provide notice in writing of the repair issue and provide the landlord with a reasonable time to make the necessary repair before seeking any of the remedies listed above. I would send notice by certified mail or other notice which permits you to retain proof it was received.

 

Here is a link to the applicable section of the code:

 

http://www.lawserver.com/law/state/virginia/va-code/virginia_code_55-248-23

 

 

 

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Reasonable time is rather vague. The issue has been ongoing for a month without correction. Does 1 month constitute reasonable, or would the reasonable duration without gas be the decision of a judge/court?
Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.
Yes, a trier of fact (judge or jury) would typically determine what is reasonable under all the circumstances but a month would normally fall outside of any reasonable period of time. A week or two may be reasonable, but I would not expect any trier of fact to find that a month is reasonable normally.
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 32136
Experience: 16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
Tina and 8 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.

Thank you very much for your positive rating of my service. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope you will ask for me should a future legal need arise.

If you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please consider scoring me a 9 or 10. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and all the best to you.

Tina

Note: Please feel free to request me if you have future legal questions by typing your new question in the question box on my profile page. Here is a link to that page, which you can bookmark or add to your favorites: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-tina/. I look forward to hearing from you again should the need arise.

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