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: 33757
Experience:  15 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

We have been paying rent faithfully at an apartment complex

Customer Question

We have been paying rent faithfully at an apartment complex for nearly three years. We have made an agreement with the apartment complex to pay an extra $300 to break the lease agreement so we can move at the end of October - we would need to continue to pay rent if a new tenant is not found by the time we need to move out.
The problem is, a couple of months ago - we had a pipe leak in the wall of our bathroom which caused a large amount of water to spill into our bedroom, and bathroom. Maintenance needed to cut a couple of large holes in the wall to get to the leak. They covered it with a plastic sheet, and left without cleaning much up - including the water in the bedroom. We had to call them back on Monday to let them know the pipe was still leaking and that the floor was still soaking wet. They sent someone out to fix the pipe, and wash the carpet (not well I might add because there is still water under the carpet)
A couple months go by, and we are still living with two giant holes in the wall of our bathroom. Unsure if they were waiting in case something went wrong again with the pipe, so we let it go. It didn't cause any major problems. Minor problems included bugs, and a strange aroma that would come from the openings.
Well, now the time has come for us to start getting ready to move out and get the apartment clean. We contacted the office at the beginning of September, letting them know good times for them to come in to repair the wall. they originally planned to be out the last week in September. The end of September came around, and my husband called them to see when they would be coming in - they told us it would be another week. We told them that would be ok, but my husband works nights so we requested that someone be in right away in the morning so that he could still get some sleep. The lady in the office assured him that someone would be in right away to repair the holes. Well, it was almost afternoon before he finally called the office to see when they would be arriving, only to find out that that the office doesn't open until noon. So he left them a voicemail and let them know they would need to reschedule, and that maintenance would need to show up in a timely manner.
My question is - do we need to continue to pay rent to an apartment complex that fails to fix maintenance requests in a timely manner. These are not the only problems we have had with this apartment complex, and quite frankly - its been a nightmare to live there. This, unfortunately, just pushed us over the edge. Do you think this is something I should hire an attorney to take care of for me, or will my basic rights as a tenant be enough?
Thank you
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 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.

.

My question is - do we need to continue to pay rent to an apartment complex that fails to fix maintenance requests in a timely manner

.

If the problems are so severe as to make the property uninhabitable, then no, you would be excused from paying rent and could vacate immediately without any penalty. This is because the landlord has a legal duty to provide a habitable dwelling that meets all minimum code and safety ordinances.

.

The problem here is that while it is irritating and unsightly, the cut out holes in the wall wouldn't rise to the level of making the property uninhabitable, thereby justifying you terminating the lease. Now if there was mold growing on the wall and they refused to remediate it, that might be a different story because mold is a known respiratory irritant and can be dangerous.

.

So your recourse here would be to file suit against the landlord in small claims court for breach of contract for failing to maintain the property and ask a judge to order them to either make repairs or terminate your lease contract.

.

But honestly, considering you are moving the end of October, it might be more trouble than it is worth..

.

I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Related Real Estate Law Questions