was i right or wrong for withholding this guys rent? and can he evict me or take me to court and win?

by admin on March 20, 2011

My landlord wants a 50 dollar late fee because i withheld the rent due to unresolved repairs and problems, and i feel as though he may pursue me in court because he wants to be an ass****. Here are the problems:

1) All the lights in the laundry room were broken. (wife is pregnant which makes this one worse)
2) There is a crack in one of my living room windows
3) 7 out of 11 window DO NOT have a lock on them at all.
4) I didnt receive my mail box key until a month after i moved in
5) I didnt receive my basment key (where my washer/dryer is at) until just about 2 months after i moved in.
6) My bathtub is backed up. meaning it takes about 15 mins for all the water to go down.
7) My bedroom door didnt wouldnt close because the door hinge wasnt alligned properly.
8) There is no exhaust hose on my neighbors dryer and all the exaust heat is flowing throughout the basement and rising up to my apartment (my apartment is right above the basment)

I just would like some opinions on this problem im having with the landlord. Im almost positive he cant evict me or win in court over 50 bucks.
PS/ The light itself was broken. what are you a retard. can you change a light bulb


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    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    My Kim March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    My nuts itch and these peeps r boring… you should just move if you have a douche landlord dude. your paying him… hes not paying you… try n sleep with his daughter to get back at him. that would be great.

    Kaviju March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    It all depends on the agreement you signed when you decided to lease his place. Go over it and see what it says about withholding rent when there are problems, or if it states anything about what would happen if there were problems in the place in question.

    I don’t believe he’d try to go to court over $50, though he could ask to evict you, but he’d have to give you notice and it would have to fit with your agreement when you first moved in.

    In my opinion, the place sounds nasty and the owner even nastier.

    MadMan March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    He will win. Courts will only back withholding of rent under very bad situations and yours do not rise to that level. Always pay your rent on time. If repairs aren’t being carried out, send registered letters. Now the judge, if you get that far, will try to get you two to stop acting like children and grow up.

    1) An issue but you can do the laundry.
    2) Crack in window – was it there when you looked around prior to signing the lease? Still, not that much of an issue.
    3) I assume that this was as when you signed the lease – should have made this a requirement for moving in
    4) No issue.
    5) No issue
    6) Really, no issue
    7) Really, no issue
    8) An issue, but pay your rent.

    Little Miss Bossy March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    1) Do you not know how to change a light bulb? I mean really.
    2) That’s a big deal
    3) Not really a biggie – you can buy locks at Home Depot
    4 & 5) These are not things you’re allowed to hold rent for
    6) Okay, gross. But not something you can really withhold rent for either
    7) Again, can’t hold rent for that.
    8) Not sure about this one ….

    Before you withhold rent, you need to read your lease and you need to read the laws for tenants in your state. In Texas you’re required to send off a certified letter to the landlord BEFORE rent is due for the following month and allowing them 7 days to resolve the issues before holding rent.

    Just swallow your pride … it’s $50. You have a pregnant wife and worrying about eviction – which will ultimately prevent you from being able to rent any half way decent place in the future – is not what you want.

    Renee March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Renters have a good deal of protection from landlord and your rights depend on where you live. You should google rental rights and which city you live in to see what you can find. I know in Philadelphia that if there is an area in the apartment that is structurally unsound you have the right to contact a local authority who will come and assess the situation and if it is deemed to be unsafe you can terminate your lease without penalty. I also know in Philadelphia if you have a broken window or there are no locks on them and you live on the first floor, it is inhabitable and you could contact the proper local authority who deals with the situation. It’s important to read what is in your lease and what they say they will take care of and what you are entitled to. I know in my lease if they do not take care of certain problems then I can either have them fixed and deduct what it cost from the following month’s rent. If you withhold rent it is best to put it in escrow so if you do go to court it will show that you intended to pay but will not until the major issues are resolved. If you don’t put it in escrow you will just look like a delinquent.

    reenzz March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Every state has specific steps you must take BEFORE withholding rent…most include placing the rent in a court approved escrow account. If you failed to follow any of the steps, you can be evicted and sued for back rent & late fees.

    Judges do not look kindly on tenant who decide to take the law into their own hands. Not knowing the law is not an excuse.

    cowgrl March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    It is illegal to take the law into your own hands just because you feel unfairly treated.

    What does your lease say about making repairs? You need to follow certain steps before attempting to withold rent, if yours is a state which even allows for this, which I doubt.

    If you do not have a lease or it does not say anything about repairs, you need to research laws for your state in particular. More likely than not, you need to send a certified letter demanding the repairs a couple of times before taking action. As I said before, few states allowing for witholding rent even after this has been done. Your problems are definitely not ones that would warrant witholding rent, anyway. You should not have taken the place if you were unsatisfied with it; by moving in, you accepted the condition of the rental unit as-is, and therefore have little recourse over repairs not explicitly outlined in the lease.

    Yes, your landlord can give you a 3 or 5 day (depends on state) notice to cure or vacate, meaning he can evict you if you do not pay the $50 by the end of the notice. If you force him to evict you, he can also sue you for the cost of the eviction, and he will most definitely win.

    It’s $50, pay it and move on with life. You have a pregnant wife; do you really want to end up on the street over such a ridiculous amount?

    Landlord March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Yes, you illegally withheld rent and he can in fact not only expect a late fee, but can evict you.

    Wildcat March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    You were wrong. It is ILLEGAL to withhold rent over repair issues without a court order. He has every legal right to charge the late fee & evict you if you do not pay. I am not even reading your list of repairs, because the bottom line here is that you went about this is completely the wrong way and are now paying for it. When you try to take the law into your own hands & do not follow the proper legal procedure you put the law on the bad landlords side.

    When a landlord does not make needed repairs there is a proper & legal procedure that must be followed. The following is legal in most states:
    1. Send them as certified letter stating the needed repairs.
    2. Give them the required # of days to fix it per your states laws
    3. Get a licensed contractor to make the needed repairs
    4. Take ONLY that amount off the next months rent & give them copies of the receipts/ invoices.

    If you do not want to do that and the repairs are major health or safety issues then you would need to sue him to legally with hold the rent. In this case the court would order you to put the rent in an escrow account until the repairs are competed.

    Caveat Emptor March 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    What you call "withholding" is actually nonpayment (or late payment) of rent. Unless you went through all the hoops of setting up a third party escrow account and depositing the "withheld" rent there, you are in the wrong.

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