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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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Could you advise? We moved in our apartment in Lemoyne, PA

Customer Question

Hi,
Could you advise?
We moved in our apartment in Lemoyne, PA in 10/2015.
We had issues with bags coming from front door and paint. A paint that had chemical components that made us sick from irritated eyes, caught and dizziness for more than a month. We had to keep all windows open all day and every day.
When we contacted the rental office, they said that they were sorry.
Starting winter season, my landlord failed (by putting cheap adhesive foam strips that got off the windows minutes or few hours later) to fix gabs between 14 windows and frames of my rental apartment, that increased my electric bill to $280 from getting air/wind thru windows and wasting heat.
They fixed the front door in January.
We used a tea spoon to insert many grocery plastic bags in between all windows and frames.
I have talked and emailed including pictures to the property manager during December and January.
My wife, daughter 6 yo and myself feel the cold even if the heater is set on 70°.
My friend and his family who live in same apartment complex say that our place is cold when they visit us.
Can I break my lease agreement with out paying the remaining months?
Can I request reimbursement of a portion of my electric bills paid and/or a reduced rent rate from landlord for home conditions?
Thank you,
Said
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation. Unfortunately failure to properly weather proof your unit is not a proper basis to terminate your lease early.

You can however, sue your landlord for failure to properly maintain the unit. You can do this in small claims court, and you can ask the court to order the landlord to reimburse you for the excessive heating costs (as well as possibly the difference in value for your poorly maintained unit when compared with a reasonably maintained one). While I cannot guarantee the outcome of any litigation, these remedies are certainly within the realm of reasonableness.

You can also contact your local health department and make a report. They can inspect the unit and find whether or not the unit is meeting all local health and safety codes (a unit that is in this state of repair most likely is not), if there are deficiencies, the department will issue a repair notice to the landlord and fine them until they make all mandatory repairs.

Short of filing a lawsuit, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.