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Ask AttyHeather Your Own Question
AttyHeather, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 677
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience
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I have had several issues at my apartment complex ranging

Customer Question

Hi I have had several issues at my apartment complex ranging from insect, rodents, fleas, bugs, roaches, and gnats as well as multiple plumbing issues, water coming out of the faucet brown and leaving trash dirt and rocks in the tub as the water is released. Two days ago a set of concrete steps collapsed and had two handicapped tenants confined to their apartments for several hours. Another apartment in my building has had baby birds sealed up into her walls inside the apartment, another has mold issues. In April I purchased a water test kit from Lowes and my bathroom water tested positive for Coliform, the results were made known to the leasing manager ss well as corporate manager. I've paid my rent late as a result of having to purchase water to cook and drink with in addition to clorox to keep the drains and dishwasher clean to help maintain the gnats and bugs. I missed a 7 day deadline to get my rent paid and was served an eviction notice, I have 7 days to respond to the notice which I plan to do. My question is do I have grounds to seek reimbursement for late fees and have the attorneys fees billed to the apartment complex. I read briefly on NOLO some tenant landlord law as it pertains to bugs and insects. What should my next step be or should I try to retain an attorney.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  AttyHeather replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I'm Heather, an attorney with 15 years experience and I'd like to assist you for informational purposes.

What a difficult situation. The apartment sounds like a complete disaster. You should file a counterclaim with your answer to the eviction complaint. In the counterclaim, make sure you set out all of the details and lay out your expenses and the time line of your expenses. I think you have a good chance of having the judge waive the late fees, if you can show that you paid what you could, but keep in mind, if you are purchasing water to drink and cook with plus purchasing bleach - they probably do not add up to the amount of unpaid rent, and so that could be where your argument fails. Your situation sounds like a case of constructive eviction, which is when the apartment conditions are so bad that the tenant must break the lease and move out. But the clincher for constructive eviction is that you have to move out. If they were suing you for unpaid rent and you had moved out, you would probably have a good case for constructive eviction. When you don't move out, it is hard for the judge to find in your favor for constructive eviction, because if you stayed in the apartment, it is obviously good enough for you to be there and using the space.

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