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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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My landlord has not provided me with an address or the

Customer Question

My landlord has not provided me with an address or the electronic information to pay my rent which was due on 5/3. Now they have served me with a 3 day notice of eviction. We are also arguing about $2500 in repairs/expenses that the condo has cost me since I moved in because it was not cleaned from the last tenant or ready to be rented. Can I put a lock on the door to prevent them from entering the unit when I am not there and removing my belongings? I'm not sure they will follow the legal process. What is my best way to handle the situation?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply,but rest assured, I am working on your question..Can you tell me what state this is in?.How were you supposed to pay your rent initially?.Did you attempt to contact them to pay on 5/3?.What type of repairs have you had to make?.Is this a residential or commercial property?..thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
The property is in Texas
The rent was due on 5/1 with late payment as of 5/3
Yes and several times before that..and several times since
When I went to see the unit, there was no electricity and I could only view it with the light from the open front door which, in hindsight, was not adequate. The apartment had not been cleaned after the prior tenants left although both the owner and realtor said it was. However it was filthy (ie feet stuck to the floor when walking on it, dried blood and feces on the toilet seat, and the like). There were/still are bug droppings on the walls of the unit. It had been sprayed by a pest control company (although not disclosed to me) and there were still bugs so it had to be resprayed. This required that I box up my entire apartment after having just moved in, and moving to a motel x 3 days per the direction of the pest control company. I was also told it was smoke free but the unit seems to share a ventilation system or something with the next door neighbor who smokes continuously and my unit often smells like smoke. I had also asked if there were any dogs or cats in the past in the unit and was told no. However when I shut my laundry room door for any length of time, the smell of dog/cat fills the room. I am allergic to dogs, cats & smoke. The unit was misrepresented by the realtor and owner. Multiple things were broken or did not work correctly (ie washer and dryer) and have been fixed but there are still outstanding issues.The landlord states she will address them but they are not done. I also did not have access to my mailbox for almost 30 days because the landlord did not have a key or deal with the post office. I have had to spend considerable personal time chasing the mail box key and waiting for service people to deal with unit issues that should have been addressed before it was put up for rent. I have photos of all of the issues.
Residential unit.
Expert:  Barrister replied 5 months ago.
Ok, thank you for that information.. From a purely legal perspective, if a dwelling is dirty and hasn't been properly cleaned, that wouldn't necessarily make it uninhabitable so as to allow the tenant to withhold rent or terminate the lease. It would have to be so filthy as to be condemned if a Code Enforcement officer were to inspect it. .However, if the landlord was unable to deliver possession to you on the date the lease was supposed to start, that would be a breach of contract and if you had to stay in a hotel, you could hold the landlord responsible for those costs..The problem with the smoke smell/pet smell is that there is a duty on the tenant to thoroughly inspect the dwelling before signing a lease to make sure it is what they want. After you sign the lease you are legally bound. So if a tenant signs a lease before inspecting the condition of the dwelling for cleanliness/odors/amenities, then they are accepting the unit in the condition that it is in. The landlord has to provide a habitable dwelling that meets all minimum housing code requirements, but that is about it. .As for putting a lock on the door, unless your lease specifically prohibits it, then you could do so. But you would have to give a key to the landlord so that he would have access in the event of an emergency, so that might defeat the purpose of changing the locks. But if you think that they will break the lease and not follow proper legal process, then this would just be considered a violation of the lease. .However, if you can prove that you have tried to pay the full rent, and you continue to do so during the 3 day period, but have no where to pay it to, then that could be used as a defense to any eviction suit. Although it does seem odd that a landlord would deliver a 3 day notice and not have any way to be paid.... mail, personally, deposit to account, management company, etc......thanksBarrister

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