How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 36181
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
19958803
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I live in a condo that has had a leak in the roof for the

Customer Question

I live in a condo that has had a leak in the roof for the past year and half. The landlord refused to fix the problem because she felt that property management was responsible. Property management felt that she was responsible. In the meantime, the stains on the ceiling over the course of the year and half got worse and worse. I hired a private mold company to come and test for mold and it came back positive for black mold being airborne. i then contacted the local Board of Health and the landlord was cited for the condo being not habitable and for violating State Sanitary Codes. The day after I called the Board of Health, she came by and ended my lease.
I did research online and wrote her a 30 day demand letter asking for the rent that I paid for the last year to be reimbursed to me in the amount of 12,800. She has since come by and offered me a settlement of 8,000. Should I take this? Clearly she knows she is in the wrong or she would not offer me a settlement. Should I counteroffer?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 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.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She has violated State Sanitary Codes with two citations. She retaliated against me, which is illegal. She refused to make repairs after being aware of them. She breached the warranty of habitability. She violated my right to a quiet enjoyment, as well as her negligence in keeping the property in good condition. I feel that 8,000 is insulting. I am a single mom and had to find a place to live with two little children on Cape Cod in the middle of the summer. She clearly didn't care about that either. I have been an excellent tenant for over two years and have never had any problems other than this.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am paying 8,000 to relocate out of my pocket that I wasn't planning on spending the last month of summer. As well as the 1000 I paid for mold testing.
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Can you tell me what your basis is in asking for a full year's rent as damages?

.

Has the mold problem existed that long?

.

Have you or your children suffered any health or medical problems?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
She has been aware of the problem for a year a half and after looking up online it was to my understanding that I could be reimbursed through court for any rent I have paid since she became aware of the problem. I figured 1 year was being polite instead of asking for a year and half.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
We all have had health issues, such as rashes and upper respiratory issues. I never knew the reason why until now.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I honestly thought 12,800 was low considering the circumstances.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Actually I only asked for the past 8 months of rent
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Ok, I thought you might have been looking at the retaliation laws which make the landlord liable for up to 3 month's rent and attorney fees.

.

The problem I see here if you go to court on this is that you notified her about the problem, but then you continued to live there for a year and a half more until you took formal action. The judge is going to ask you if the property was uninhabitable, then why did you stay for 1.5 years before finally moving.

.

So your response will have to be that you had no idea that the mold was that dangerous to your health and as soon as you found out, you did take action to move as quickly as possible.

.

With that said, if the property has been uninhabitable for 1.5 years and you are just asking for 1 year's rent as compensation, that is likely a cheap deal for the landlord. If you got a personal injury attorney and sued her for negligetnce for subjecting you and your children to those conditions, you could end up with quite a bit more because after a certain point, her negligence turns into gross negligence and increases your potential damages because it shows a careless disregard for your and your children's health and safety..

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
That is why I have stayed here. I wasn't aware of the mold issue until two months ago. So should I accept her offer or should I stick with what I was asking for? I don't have the money to go to court nor the energy as I am in the middle of a divorce. Should I say 10,000? I just don't know what my reasoning would be.
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

I think you might mention to her that your final offer is 10K and you have an appointment next week to meet with a couple personal injury attorneys so your offer to settle won't go down once you talk to them and decide on an attorney..

.

That should scare the bejeesus out of her and get her to settle so you don't have to hire an attorney to sue her... This isn't a slam dunk of a case so a personal injury attorney might not agree to take the case on a contingency fee basis and may want a retainer up front..

.

.

thanks

Barrister