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David L
David L, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3255
Experience:  Attorney licensed in multiple jurisdictions.
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I have rented the lower flat in a 2 family house, upper and

Customer Question

I have rented the lower flat in a 2 family house, upper and lower for 49years. I moved in when the house was new. My first dealing with asking for help with an apt. issue --was I would receive a rent raise= this practice has continued all these years. Landlord has a plumbing business and usually takes care of those problems ie: water tank blew, they replaced same and left the damaged one in the cellar for 3 years as with any plumbing problem they just leave the old parts. They are non union. So I have learned that a do it yourself attitude keeps the rent from having unwarranted increases.{Note--that's 49 yrs now}Gutters have never been cleaned and there is a hole in the tip of the roof that the squirrels have inhabited the attic. I have by phone and mail notified them but they ignore same. The cellar leaks water from all sides of the house, the basement is always wet. 4 yrs ago I was told to remove all items from cellar and I lost thousands of $s in mdse. donated to City Mission, Salvation Army and given receipts for same. I pleaded to keep some of my goods , they ok'd this. Aug. new tenant in upper. Gas co. said old water tank and furnace needed service first due to corrosion and spewing carbon monoxide. Landlord complied with upper cellar units, not lower. Again "get that shit out of the basement or you and your shit will be gone in a week} I do have items in the basement yet. ie: boxes, floral supplies, clothing, storage items all in boxes or totes. Do I have any rights to the cellar. Upper former tenants as well as this new one do not need but a small area for their goods and do not care at all what I have but to say how neat a lot of the items I own are. Please help I am so frustrated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  David L replied 1 year ago.

Hi and thanks for asking your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you. It is unfortunate that your landlord is treating you so poorly. It sounds like you are being taken for granted, since you have lived there for so long. The landlord probably assumes that you are not going to move so there is no point in treating you appropriately.

You have a number of alternatives. First, do you have a written lease? If so, the lease should have specific maintenance requirements that the landlord must adhere to. If the landlord is violating the lease terms, you have the legal right to enforce the terms of your lease. However, even if you don't have a written lease, local building codes require landlords to maintain a building in a reasonable manner. If you aren't getting cooperation from your landlord, you can always call or visit your local government building code enforcement. They will come inspect your dwelling and require the landlord to make any repairs that violate local code.

As a last alternative - although probably not a good one for you - you can threaten to move at the end of your current term. There may be other living options available to you with better landlords and better rental terms.

With regard to the basement, you would have a right to it if that right is given within your lease. If you don't have a lease, then I think you could use past experience as a legal argument moving forward. For example, if you have always been allowed to use the basement but now you are not, you could probably argue that you have always assumed the basement was included since it was always available to you.

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