This week the question for Ask Landlord Hank comes from a tenant asking about repairs and landlord obligations for rental property.
Dear Landlord Hank,
I live in subsidized housing and have been having many issues with the condition of my apartment. Mold is the biggest issue, but my most urgent need affects my stove. Every time it rains, the range/vent hood leaks. This has been going on for over two years. Needless to say, as time goes on it gets worse; today I woke up to my entire counter being wet and dripping onto the floor.
My property manager is well aware of the issue, but no one has come to fix it. It’s getting so bad that I am now afraid to use the range hood or even use the overhead light because I’m afraid of what could happen due to the water. Honestly, no one from that organization has come to do any repairs on any of the units that are on this property since March. I realize that with the pandemic going on that getting help may take more time than usual, but I have watched maintenance come and do yard work every other week and seen several of the workers work on an apartment here that has been empty for well over a year. Please help, I don’t know what else to do.
I have already filed two complaints regarding mold in my house with the city’s code department; the owner was cited with violations, but nothing has been done. I have even had a conversation with the property manager, who said they would send someone to fix my stove ASAP. That was over a month ago.
With winter coming, I need someone to fix these rental property issues. I feel forgotten, and that my wellbeing is of no concern to them. Any real resources would be greatly appreciated.
The landlord and property owner has basic obligations under Landlord Tenant law.
These are fairly universal through the United States. The landlord has the responsibility to maintain the property, including keeping it habitable, safe and clean, as well as adhering to building codes and health and safety codes and federal, state and local laws.
The landlord must perform needed repairs, keep vital services such as plumbing and water, electric and heat in good working order, maintain common areas, and provide for trash removal.
Mold and mildew can be a health hazard, and the landlord must take care of that and keep it from coming back by getting to the root of the moisture.
It sounds like you have a roof leak, and the lack of repair for two years is not acceptable. I would talk to the property manager again, as well as email him or her, so you have a paper trail of the problem.
Find out when someone is coming to take care of the problem. If no one comes by that date, I would contact the manager again, and if still no maintenance, I’d contact someone in the agency that is subsidizing this rental property. Let them know about the multitude of issues and lack of maintenance, on-going long-term requests by you, and the mold problem.
It’s good to keep up the landscaping so the property looks nice, but it would be great to keep up the building as well, so it not only looks nice but is a decent place to live. Good luck!
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