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Can my landlord really get away with this?!

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  • Can my landlord really get away with this?!

    I was living in an apartment for 23 months. I have argued with my landlord since shortly moving in about fixing a ceiling in my apartment, which she claimed she would fixed when I moved in. She never has. Unfortunately, the area has toxic black mold now, and has even traveled through other parts of my kitchen, including into my cupboards. In addition, the mold has also been found in other areas, like the bedroom I used as the nursery for my two babies. Upon informing the landlord of this situation, she told us to leave because of the conditions. However, she is not willing to pay for me to stay some place else, such as a hotel or anything. In addition, she refuses to refund my security deposit of 525 dollars, even though the situation was of no fault of mine, and we had a signed lease. In fact, she has even raved about the cleanliness of my apartment, and even told others what a great tenant I was. Now I am homeless, staying with my mother in law in a 2 bedroom trailor, but only temporarily. What can I do about this legally?

  • #2
    Re: Can my landlord really get away with this?!

    I wish to inform you that you can claim compensation. As the property has become uninhabitable, therefore, you had no choice but to shift but this does not mean that landlord can take your security. In this the landlord is bound to give back your security because the house became uninhabitable not because of you but because of the fault of the landlord. Further, you can demand compensation for shifting but in this you can claim only expenses incurred by you while shifting. You can give a notice to landlord regarding return of your security and compensation and if the landlord does not return the money then you can file a suit in the Small Claims Court.

    AFF

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    • #3
      Re: Can my landlord really get away with this?!

      Whoa. Back up here AFFA. Does the tenant have any proof that there is mold? Proof that the mold is toxic? (Looks cannot prove it! You need photos and test results. Photos would show how far it has spread.)

      Specifically you need test results that show 3 things to prove black mold in the unit or to prove the unit was uninhabitable. The tests must show 1) that mold is present. (Easy one - mold is present everywhere. Mold spores float around the world in all but the driest regions. That's why those super cheap drug store tests come back positive most of the time.) 2) You must have test results that show the PPM (parts per million) of the mold. This shows how extensive the mold is in the place and proves that it is not just the normal mold spores floating around in the air. An inside and outside test would show elevated levels inside the unit - proving a mold problem inside. And 3) You must have test results that show the strain of mold. Not all molds are harmful. Some are even beneficial. (Chances are what's on your ceiling isn't, but you need to show it.) Only 1% of all mold is toxic black mold. You can't tell by looking if it is. You need results to show the strain. These should be test results from a credible source. Local health departments can do testing, as can a building inspector. You would need some proof of this type to claim the unit was uninhabitable. And if it has been on-going for the last 22 months, a judge may believe you didn't think it was much of a problem. After all, you stayed there 22 months after you first discovered the problem, even though the LL did not make repairs. Hard to claim its uninhabitabile if you have remained living in the unit that long.

      Next, you have lived there for 23 months. *IF* you had a year's lease, it has expired. You are a m2m tenant and can be asked to leave for any or no reason. All the LL had to do was to give you notice to vacate (which she did.) If a m2m tenant, she is not responsible for any compensation for your moving or accommodations. As a m2m tenant, you have no guarantee of being in the unit for more than just that month. When you move out, whether you or the LL give the notice, it is your responsibility where you go. If your lease was a one year lease, you have no recourse on this. *IF* you had a two year lease, she would be responsible for accommodations for one month.

      Finally, the deposit. Since she asked you to leave, presumably on a m2m agreement, she owes you the deposit back, minus any damages you did to the unit. She needs to send you an itemized list to a forwarding address you provide within a specified amount of time (which varies by state). Make sure you provide a forwarding as some states say the LL has no responsibility to return the deposit without one. How long ago did you move out? What state is this in? We need that info to tell you when the deposit is due. It can be as short as 14 days or as long as 45 days. If she doesn't send it back in the required amount of time, send a demand letter to her for it, mailed certified, rrr, and keep a copy. If she doesn't respond to that, then file in small claims court for the money.

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