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Do you answer questions about landlord tenant law in the…

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Do you answer questions about landlord tenant law in the state of Washington?

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

Washington

Lawyer's Assistant: Has any paperwork been filed?

No I just have a question about my landlord's responsibility under Washington law.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

The rain caused the ceiling of my apartment to collapse and my apartment filled with water. The landlord came out and is getting the problem fixed but I cannot live in my apartment while people are there sucking out water, fans blowing etc. My landlord seems to think this is just fine and he is not responsible to find or pay for alternative housing during this time. I want to know if he is

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
11/16/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 13,309
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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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Ok.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Thanks very much for your patience. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

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 because they have not yet fixed the apartment. 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. So, you can choose one of those remedies or the landlord can reimburse you for hotel fees or motel fees, for example.

To help facilitate the situation, you may want to click here to download a “Complaint to Landlord” template. The template only costs $10 and the company that owns the template sends it securely in an email usually 1-2 business days after your purchase.

What other questions did you have for me?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I already knew this information. I can't find any specifc law in Washington I can cite for my landlord. He thinks I should just stay in the unit and is always quoting the law to me. I'm sorry but I already got this information for free online.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

RCW 59.18.060 outlines landlord duties for your state. Just understand that generally, if a tenant provides a landlord with official written notice about a violation of required landlord duties and the landlord does not remedy the situation in the required timeline, the tenant may terminate the rental agreement.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
This website just keeps trying to sell me upgrades. I am frustrated and just want my money back.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
How did I get a refund?
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

I can understand why you're frustrated. The system asks you constantly if you want to pay more money, but you're not required to do so. I want to be able to help you out with this to see you through this situation. Going through the living situation you're going through now is probably not helping the situation either. I'm with you, in writing, to help you out. What other questions did you have for me that I can help you with?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I want to know the specific law in Washington that requires him to pay for my having to go to a hotel?
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Are there laws that spell out what he is required to do in this situation.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Let me see if WA law spells that out specifically. They may not say so, but I'll double check now...

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
What and who determines what's acceptable? Am I required to just live in this situation because he is fixing the problem? He told me he could not guarantee the ceiling would not continue to fall down and I should wear a hard hat.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I told him the place with uninhabitable and his response was that my renter's insurance should cover me. I told him I don't have renter's insurance. (Will be getting it. But doesn't help me now.) He just tried to humiliate me.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Ok, here is what the law in WA says specifically about this. Now, keep in mind that he can choose to do this informally, but here are what your legal rights are under state law:

Option 1: You can move out. If your landlord does not make a repair within the required time, and does not remedy the situation within a reasonable time, you can move out. All you need to do is give the landlord a written notice that you are moving out. RCW 59.18.090(1). You can move out. If your landlord does not make a repair within the required time, and does not remedy the situation within a reasonable time, you can move out. All you need to do is give the landlord a written notice that you are moving out. RCW 59.18.090(1).

Option 2: You can go to court or arbitration. You can hire a lawyer and go to court to force the landlord to make repairs. (You cannot take cases like these to Small Claims Court.) If the landlord agrees, you can go to arbitration. Arbitration is usually cheaper and quicker than going to court. (See “Expressions and Words You Should Know” at the end of this publication for more on arbitration.) RCW 59.18.090(2).

Option 3: You can hire someone yourself to make the repairs. (RCW 59.18.100.)

So, under WA law, there's no specific requirement that they have to pay for your hotel fees. However, under option 1, you are allowed to move out and he would be forced to give you back your deposits and everything that you've paid for the month up until now.

What other questions did you have for me?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
He is making repairs and told me I could move out. Again, read this information online already. This just isn't acceptable. I don't want to move out. I just think he should be responsible for me to stay somewhere else. Clearly, you have no real answer for me. I am going to consult a landlord tenant attorney in Washington and hopefully, the attorney doesn't basically tell me well you can move out - repairs are being made. Why do I have to move out while that happens? This really hasn't given me any real answers. I think a local attorney with this area of expertise will be a better option for me. You get what you pay for.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

I'm sorry to hear that you were unsatisfied with my answers. What I will do is opt out of the question and see if another expert is willing to help you out or who may have better insight.

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