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I am renting an apartment and due to the hot water heater…

Customer Question
I am renting an...

I am renting an apartment and due to the hot water heater needing to be replaced I went 14 days without hot water. I asked the landlord to deduct the amount from my monthly rental payment. Do I have a legal case to pursue through this?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?

Virginia

Lawyer's Assistant: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?

Such issues are the responsibility of the landlord 24 month lease

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 18 minutes by:
12/22/2017
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 4 months ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 31,912
Experience: Attorney
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

The landlord does have an obligation to provide hot water, because that's one of the things you're paying for by renting the property. However, he's also providing a place to stay, heat, access to electricity, plumbing, and other things. When the landlord violates the warranty of habitability, the tenant may be entitled to a partial rent rebate for the dates in question. That's usually not going to be the full amount of rent paid for those days unless there are multiple problems. You can, however, negotiate a fair amount to compensate you for not having hot water. If you had to go somewhere else to shower, you could for example ask for mileage at the standard mileage rate (currently 53.5 cents per mile). Or you could ask for a percentage of the rent to cover your inconvenience.

When tenants sue in this scenario, the judge looks at the total rent paid, then uses his or her judgment to determine the value of the property without hot water. They have a lot of discretion in determining damages. You'd likely get something back, but not the full amount. It's possible you could get more if the landlord is willing to negotiate. But if they won't, yes, you can sue in Small Claims. You cannot deduct the money from the rent without the landlord's consent, because the water heater has already been repaired. That would be grounds for eviction.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reply WITHOUT RATING so I may address them. My goal is to provide you with excellent customer service. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so I get credit for assisting you today. Mobile users may have to scroll to the right. Thank you.

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Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 3 months ago

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Lucy, Esq.
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Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
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The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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