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My apt. bldg. had a sewer backup about a month ago. After…

Customer Question
My apt. bldg. had...

My apt. bldg. had a sewer backup about a month ago. After several calls to rental agent, they finally answered when I said my lawyer will call them. I did report them to the health departments.

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is the property located in? And has anyone consulted a local attorney about this?

No

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

The rental agent finally called and called a sewer specialist. Now I am being billed for this work and when I called and asked why, I was told the sewer backup was caused by baby wipes. I told the girl I don't use baby wipes and I was not paying for this. All four units had the same issue. The sewer backup their basement and flooded one. I told them I was not paying for this work. I didn't told them I was contacting my lawyer and was also calling the local TV station who sends people out to solve issues the tenants are not getting the right actions done.

Submitted: 4 months ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
2/16/2018
Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 4 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 12,287
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 4 months ago

This appears to be a violation of the implied warranty (promise) of habitability. All residential leases and rental agreements contain an implied warranty of habitability. Under the "implied warranty of habitability," the landlord is legally responsible for repairing conditions that seriously affect the rental unit's habitability. That is, the landlord must repair substantial defects in the rental unit and substantial failures to comply with state and local building and health codes. However, the landlord is generally not responsible under the implied warranty of habitability for repairing damages that were caused by the tenant or the tenant's family, guests, or pets. The usual measure of damages is either 1) a cancellation of the lease agreement; 2) a withholding of the rent until the item is repaired; or 3) you repair the matter yourself and request reimbursement.

In this case, if the landlord is attempting to charge you for something that they were required to repair, then you have the option of one of those three things. If they try to deduct it from your security deposit at move out, if they try evict you because of it, or if they make efforts to collect, you should advise the landlord otherwise.

You may want to consider just writing a formal demand letter that they cease collection attempts since a court would likely rule in your favor. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for a demand letter (click here). It only costs $10 and it is way cheaper than litigation.

Did you have any other questions for me about this?

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