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How to make your landlord pay for repairs

Posted: 11:15 PM, Dec 11, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-11 23:15:57-05

Keoka Cavens is moving out of her apartment, because they landlord has refused to make repairs for months to water and mold damage.

On her phone, she showed photos of an open ceiling, where it was so wet it collapsed, and water cascading down from a ceiling light fixture.

Earlier this year, Jimmy Stigall begged for someone to fix up the mobile home park where he lives with his son, who suffers from seizures and lives in a wheelchair..

Stigall showed broken windows covered with duct tape and cardboard, and disrepair everywhere.

The landlord who owns the park would not answer our calls.

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Hundreds of Landlord Complaints

People complain to us every week about landlords. People say there's not enough heat, poor security, it's run down, or it has bedbugs.

"If there's a specific problem the landlord's not addressing, the tenant should put that in writing," says attorney Daniel McCarthy, who specializes in landlord-tenant issues.

He says residents should:

  • Make a written list of the problems
  • Send it to the landlord
  • Give the landlord 30 days to fix them.

If the landlord fails to meet that requirement, the tenant should go to the courthouse and ask about withholding rent.

"Go to the Clerk of Courts downtown at the courthouse and do what's called a 'rent escrow,'" McCarthy said.

Escrow must be done through the court. Don't simply stop paying rent, or you could be sued.

"They cannot decide 'my landlord hasn't fixed this problem, I've been after him, he told me he was going to fix it he hasn't done it, I'm not going to pay,'" McCarthy said.

Stigall said he's going to keep fighting to improve conditions at his home.

That way you don't waste your money.

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