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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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I feel I am constructively evicted because property management

Resolved Question:

I feel I am 'constructively evicted' because property management have continuously failed to provide a safe and healthy environment, as contracted for, failed to fix in a timely manner broken A/C (3 days in Florida in July is not a timely manner) and did leave me in an apartment with excessive heat, they didn't fix laundry/dryer in a timely manner, despite repeated notices and promises, etc. Many residents have the same complains. Corporate management stands very strongly behind wall of promises and lies (that repairs had been made in a timely fashion), and when clear evidences (pictures, phone logs, detailed explanation by witnesses, etc.) proves to opposite - corporate attitude towards the truth stands unshakable. It looks UPM managed properties are kept in such a way that maintenance is deprived for years, which down the road results in complain traffic from the tenants. Unfortunately, UPM learned how to deal with them in a bad way – either keeps false promises about what will be repaired, or accusing a complainer about causing the false alarms by stating that they will not condone such a ridiculous behavior from side of tenants. Today I gave 60-days lease termination notice because I cannot live in such unhealthy and unsafe conditions. I am terminating the contract due to management's material breach, however, they will pursue $1706 fee for lease termination. What should I do next?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

Hi, and Welcome to JustAnswer

 

Thank you for question,

 

The Answer I am providing is information only and does not constitute the practice of law in jurisdictions where I am not licensed to practice. JustAnswer's policy and State Bar restrictions prohibit any attorney-client relationship, giving legal advice and client representation though this forum.

 

 

ANSWER

 

 

Please keep in mind that what might appear to be an "untimely manner" for us, might be considered "timely" under the law. You did not state how long you waited for the repairs to the washer and dryer and did not specify how management failed to provide a safe and healthy environment.

 

Please also keep in mind that the law provides that where a tenant has requested the landlord to make repairs, but the landlord has failed to do so, the tenant has the right to have those repairs done, deduct the cost of such repairs from the following month's rent and send a copy of the receipt for the repairs to the landlord with the balance of the rent.

 

I wish I could give you a sure way to avoid having to pay the $1,706 fee for early termination, however, if they sue you for that amount, I'm afraid the Judge will tell you that you did not assert the rights which the law gives tenants to make repairs.

 

You might be able to win, if they sued you for that amount and also get a full refund of your security deposit, if you can make out a strong case for "unhealthy" and "unsafe" environment. Your case against the management would also be made stronger, if other tenants decided to take the same action as you are taking - that of moving out. There is more strength in many voices, rather than just one.

________________________________________________

 

BONUS is always appreciated

That is the only way I get paid

_________________________________________________

 

Kindest Regards,

 

ANDREA, JD, LLM

MEMBER, NY & PA BAR

Don't forget to leave positive feedback!

Andrea, Esq. and 8 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

Hi, and Welcome to JustAnswer

 

Thank you for question,

 

The Answer I am providing is information only and does not constitute the practice of law in jurisdictions where I am not licensed to practice. JustAnswer's policy and State Bar restrictions prohibit any attorney-client relationship, giving legal advice and client representation though this forum.

 

 

ANSWER

 

 

Please keep in mind that what might appear to be an "untimely manner" for us, might be considered "timely" under the law. You did not state how long you waited for the repairs to the washer and dryer and did not specify how management failed to provide a safe and healthy environment.

 

Please also keep in mind that the law provides that where a tenant has requested the landlord to make repairs, but the landlord has failed to do so, the tenant has the right to have those repairs done, deduct the cost of such repairs from the following month's rent and send a copy of the receipt for the repairs to the landlord with the balance of the rent.

 

I wish I could give you a sure way to avoid having to pay the $1,706 fee for early termination, however, if they sue you for that amount, I'm afraid the Judge will tell you that you did not assert the rights which the law gives tenants to make repairs.

 

You might be able to win, if they sued you for that amount and also get a full refund of your security deposit, if you can make out a strong case for "unhealthy" and "unsafe" environment. Your case against the management would also be made stronger, if other tenants decided to take the same action as you are taking - that of moving out. There is more strength in many voices, rather than just one.

________________________________________________

 

BONUS is always appreciated

That is the only way I get paid

_________________________________________________

 

Kindest Regards,

 

ANDREA, JD, LLM

MEMBER, NY & PA BAR

Don't forget to leave positive feedback!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

There is no law how fast they need to fix A/C. Therefore, they can play with expression of "timely manner". However, this is Florida – temperature was 95F, humidity around 70%. We have 3 laundry/dryers for 30 apartments. If one is working – we are lucky. So, what is your suggestion – to pay this fee and after that pursue from property owner?

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

You are right, there is no law that tells us what is a "reasonable amount of time" because everything is relative.

 

Let me give you an example,

 

Example: Let us assume that the temperature outside is 100 degrees, but the tenant's air conditioning is working properly. Let us also assume that someone broke the tenant's window so that all the hot air is coming into the apartment. If Management could not repair the window for 5 days, this would be an unreasonable amount of time to have hot air blowing into the tenant's apartment.

 

However, if the temperature outside was 72 degrees and Management could not repair the window for 5 days, this would not be an unreasonable amount of time. because the weather is pleasant outside.

 

This is how a Court decides cases, everything is relative, depending on the rest of the circumstances.

 

If the building has 30 apartments and only 3 dryers - I consider this unreasonable, even if they are all working properly. With only 3 washers (if they were working), it would still mean that only 3 out of the 30 families could do their laundry at one time.

 

In my first Answer, I told you that the law gives the tenant a right to repair, if the landlord has not done so and deduct the cost of the repairs from the following month's rent. If an appliance repairman were called in to repair the washers and the dryers and the repairs for each washer and each dryer were $100 for a total of $600 in repairs, ( 3 washers and 3 dryers) each tenant could contribute $20 to the repairs and then deduct it from the rent. Management could not do anything to any tenant for doing this because they have a legal right to do so.

 

You could have done this with your air conditioning. If you saw that management did not have it repaired in 24 or 36 hours, you could have brought in a repairman, paid him for the repairs and deducted it from your rent.

 

I am simply telling you all this so that if Management sues you for the $1,706 early termination fee, you will not be surprised if the Judge tells you this and I just want you to be prepared for any possible argument that Management will give the Judge.

 

However, whatever you do, even for repairs, you should always put your request to Management in writing, keeping a copy of each request for your records. You could tell Management in each notice and request for repairs that:

 

"This is an emergency situation" and if the repairs are not performed within 36 hours, I will exercise my legal right to have the repairs done, pay for them and deduct the cost of the repairs from my next month's rent."

 

If Management does not want to spend the money for the repairs and simply gives the tenants empty promises, one sure way of having all the necessary repairs done is if the tenants have them done and simply deduct the cost from their rent, giving management a copy of the receipt for the cost of the repairs as proof that they were done.

 

There is no way that Management could ever sue a tenant for making these repairs because the Judge would see that the repairs were necessary and the tenants did what they had to do to make each apartment livable.

 

I wish I could give you a simple black and white answer, but it is not possible in this case and I want to be sure that you understand what Management can do to you if they took you to Court for the $1,706.

________________________________________________

 

BONUS is always appreciated

That is the only way I get paid

_________________________________________________

 

Kindest Regards,

 

ANDREA, JD, LLM

MEMBER, NY & PA BAR

Don't forget to leave positive feedback!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Sorry, I didn’t mentioned one detail. According to Lease, I need to receive written permission from Office, if I want to repair something in the apartment.

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

That is fine, as long as they are reasonable.

 

For example, assume you notify in writing the Management that something needs repair. You notify them by dropping off the written request at their office. (which I mentioned above). Always end the request with something like this:

 

"Kindly let me know later today when I can expect the repairmen. If I do not hear from you, I will assume that I can call in a repairman myself and have the repairs performed"

 

By ending each request for repairs in this way, you are letting them know you mean business. More importantly, if they do not get back to you, you are telling them that you are taking their silence as consenting to have you bring in the repairman. Short, sweet, to the point, and extremely effective because they cannot later come back to you and say that they never consented. You gave them the chance to repair, told them if they did not, you would get the repairman, and by not contacting you, you are taking their silence as their consent.

 

________________________________________________

 

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BONUS is always appreciated

That is the only way I get paid

_________________________________________________

 

Kindest Regards,

 

ANDREA, JD, LLM

MEMBER, NY & PA BAR

 

Don't forget to leave positive feedback!