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Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 29021
Experience:  30 years of real estate practice experience.
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How can I get my landlord to let me out of my lease or hire

Customer Question

How can I get my landlord to let me out of my lease or hire professionals to come repair a messed up drain pipe for a washing machine? I reported the problem with the pipe to him 32 days ago and he finally came to fix it yesterday but ended up flooding the house because he didn't hook the hoses back up and the maintenance guy told us to run it when he left. He's now saying he never told us to run it that he said not to run it bc he wasn't done. I'm afraid of being charged for damages from the flood but I also want to know how to get out of my lease or get him to repair the drain pipe which is still not repaired.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.

Do you have a written lease? If yes when does it expire?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I do, it expires 7/31/2017, I just renewed my lease last month. In regards ***** ***** and remedies it says that I must make a written request for repair or remedy of the condition after which we'll have a reasonable time for repair or remedy. If we fail to do so you must make a second written request for the repair or remedy after which we'll have a reasonable time to repair or remedy and if the repair or remedy still hasn't been accomplished within that reasonable time period, you may immediately terminate this lease by giving us final written notice. "Reasonable time" accounts for the nature of the problem and the reasonable availability of materials, labor, and utilities. So I guess my question is do text messages count as written notice? I'm guessing not so what can I do?
Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

Text messages probably do not count as written notice. If the lease requires written notice it means on paper.

Every tenancy carries with it the implied warranty of habitability and the right to quiet enjoyment of the premises in exchange for the rent.

If the landlord is refusing to make necessary repairs and it is interfering with the use and habitability of the leased premises then you can sue for breach. In the course of the suit you may be able to leverage an early termination with the return of all deposits.

A riskier way is to move out now and declare the lease terminated due to "constructive eviction". In other words, the action or inaction of the landlord has made the premises unhabitable and you are forced to move out.

You still have to sue and the risk is that the court finds the premises WAS habitable and you end up being liable for breach.

Make sure you have a written record of the damages and your request for repairs.

Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question?

Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

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Customer: replied 2 months ago.
One more question I'm sorry! What should I do about the water damage caused by the washing machine hoses not being plugged in? Send a certified letter to him about what happened? No one has any proof of who said or did what yesterday so I'm not sure how to document that and prevent me from having to be responsible for it. I emailed myself photos and videos of the hoses out of the drain pipe and the standing water in the house and garage but that's it.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

Did the landlord order the repairman?

Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

Did you alert the repairman about the damage caused by the hoses?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
the repair man is named Raymond and he takes care of all of the landlords properties. Not sure if he's an employee or independent contractor. Both of them came by the evening of the flood to put down fans because I told them it was a lot of water and they should consider getting an extraction team in there. While there, Raymond admitted to me and my cousin that he did tell us to run it but he didn't know the landlord had taken the drain hose out of the drain pipe that he would have put it back or told us to had he known and that it was clearly a miscommunication between them. He said it while the landlord was outside getting fans to put down and then quickly changed his tune when the landlord was inside saying that he never said it was fixed and we should have noticed it was flooding sooner to avoid this much water in the house. The landlord has said to me numerous times in person that we should have been able to see the hose wasn't in the drain pipe because he had pulled the washer away from the wall and that it was very obvious which is either a lie or the repair man pushed it back because it was flush with the dryer and you could not see the spicketts or drain pipe at all when we ran the machine. It's a he said she said situation however the landlord did email me last night trying to cover his ass in writing about the leak and the flood but all he said was "We inspected the line and needed to come back with additional tools once we determined the problem. I personally pulled the washer from the wall and removed the drain hose. When I left anyone could see the drain pipe was removed because the washer was not close to the wall. I don't know what happened next." He didn't mention the flood or anything and just kept saying how he's always repaired things right away and the lack of use of the washing machine doesn't affect my ability to live comfortably. Anyways back to the flood, what should I do to cover my butt? I sent him a certified letter today requesting repairs be made within 7 days or I will exercise my right to terminate my lease due to breach of contract sighting that the pipe was leaking inside the wall which has a high potential for mold growth and it directly affects my health but more importantly my 9 year old sons who has asthma so he's not going to be happy and looking to stick it to me.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.
You have done what you have to do in making the demand to repair or declare a constructive eviction and terminate the lease.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

You can also contact the local health and building departments to see if you can get them to send out inspectors. If there are code violations they will demand repair and compliance. If nothing is done the landlord will be fined. That could get some action on your repair demand.

Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

If you have no further questions, and have not yet done so, please remember to leave a favorable rating (click 5 stars in the rating section on this page) so that I am credited by JustAnswer for assisting you.

There is no additional charge to you for rating me.

A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.

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