1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Brand new lease and major plumbing issues Repairs, Maintenance

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by nanademi, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. nanademi

    nanademi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Signed the lease and deposited all monies including first month's rent March 5. Moved into new place March 13. They were supposed to have made repairs and make-ready cleaning done beforehand but didn't.

    We've logged several maintenance requests to put back into play all the things they were supposed to have done before we got here. Maintenance keeps calling saying 'we will call when we're on our way' and then we don't hear from them. Of the nine less critical things we built service tickets for on 3/17, things like 'closet rod keeps falling', we got fed up and have fixed seven of them ourselves.

    Now, however, we're experiencing major plumbing issue. This house was vacant for over a year, water not turned on again until we turned it on March 9 (as property mgmt. requested, so their cleaning crew could do the 'make ready' that never happened). Anyway - We think that the big tree in the front yard has roots that has grown into the sewer line, between the cleanout valve and the city's line. Long story short, if we try to do normal things - like do a load of laundry, or take a shower - the line backs up, overflowing from the cleanout valve in the front yard. That in itself is bad enough because the odor is very unpleasant. But, it's also creating wet spots in the hallway carpet, which tells me there's a bigger problem here than we thought.

    opened maintenance request on 3/22, no response at all. Emailed as many people as I had email addresses for this morning 3/27 because the problem is getting worse, and specifically asked them to PLEASE get whatever plumbing company they use to contact me ASAP since now we're talking possibly mold / water damage in addition to everything else.

    My question is - What's my recourse here? We paid all deposits up front, we don't owe anything until April 1. But right now we are in a place that I believe meets the criteria of uninhabitable, or close to it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,270
    Likes Received:
    5,324
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Be very, very careful if you're thinking about withholding rent because of the issues.
    You might want to open discussions and see what it would cost for you get out of the lease and walk away.
    If that's agreeable by the landlord, get it in writing before doing anything.
    Realistically, I'd also see an attorney before I withheld the rent.
    There's a very specific way that you withhold your rent. One misstep and you can find yourself burdened by debt and hounded by a judgment.
     
  3. nanademi

    nanademi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Army Judge, thanks for the input. I don't think we are quite to that point yet.

    I was up late last night poring over Section 92 of the Texas Property Code (which my lease mentions specifically) and have learned that so far I have handled this correctly. I've submitted a maintenance request in writing. If after 7 days Landlord fails to remedy the issue, I must send written notice that I intend to have the repair fixed myself. I also have the right to terminate the lease at that time, or to have repairs made and deduct the cost of said repairs from the rent (Code mentions specifically that I can deduct cost of repairs not to exceed one month's rent or $500, whichever is greater). Code also specifically mentions the tenant has the right to have the repairs made if those other conditions have been met and if:

    "The landlord has failed to remedy the backup or overflow of raw sewage inside the tenant's dwelling or the flooding from broken pipes or natural drainage inside the dwelling." (Sec. 92.0561. TENANT'S REPAIR AND DEDUCT REMEDIES, part D3A). Which most certainly applies here, entire hall carpet is now wet and this place smells.

    Tomorrow is the seventh day.

    So, today, we will be getting a shop vacuum to try and remove some of the water from the hallway carpet, I will be opening yet another maintenance request via the mgmt. property's web portal, calling the main maintenance # again, and sending more emails. In this day and age I do believe electronic communications are equivalent to standard written documents from a legal point of view, but I will cover myself by sending a certified letter the old fashioned way as well.

    I do not want to go through the hassle of finding another place to live, we JUST got most of the unpacking and settling in done. I would much rather my property management company step up and follow through and do the right thing here.
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,270
    Likes Received:
    5,324
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You're wise to document and double dip using registered snail mail, return receipt requested.
    Beware, many of the property management companies don't care about laws, just profits.
    I hope for your sake the one you're involved with does.
    The law is a very difficult beast. It's complicated and expensive. The justice dispensed is often like Roman or Greek Mythology, a Biggfoot sighting, or a 19th century fairy tale.
     
  5. nanademi

    nanademi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    " The law is a very difficult beast. It's complicated and expensive. The justice dispensed is often like Roman or Greek Mythology, a Biggfoot sighting, or a 19th century fairy tale."

    I like that!

    I've also just now reached out to a lawyer in my area who among other things has a specialty with landlord /tenant issues. I figured getting initial consultation at least cannot hurt anything. REALLY hope it doesn't come to that though...

    Called the head of the property mgmt. co earlier and said "What's the status, we really need this solved" and his response was 'uh, has no one called you yet?". When I said no he said he'd have someone call me....About two hours later the lead maintenance guy calls and says he will try to get one of his guys out here today, and that they'd call me back ( yeah right, I've heard that before)....

    Which actually makes me mad given that the service ticket I put in 3/22 started with the phrase "This one we will need a plumber for"....just sending me Joe Blow who does general / light maintenance work is NOT going to solve this! We need a LICENSED professional....
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,270
    Likes Received:
    5,324
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You're headed in the right direction, just remember you must plead, cajole, and sometimes beg to receive some of the things that are owed to you.
    Yes, its crazy, but that's the upside down, inside out, black is white, night is day world in which we live.
    Very few care, preferring to get away doing as little as possible while receiving as much as can be scammed from the suckers, who were at one time known as customers.

    You can sometimes get the service or help you require by tricking the other party into believing you're dumber than a rock.
    Its a tortured path we must sometimes tread, my friend, so tread it carefully.
     
  7. nanademi

    nanademi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Finally, some forward motion. They sent one of their maintenance guys, who snaked the line, looked around at the water in the hallway, and said 'they should have sent the plumber'.

    DUH.

    Anyway the plumber himself is FINALLY involved now, he's been more proactive than anyone else I've spoken to (I spoke to him three times yesterday alone), and by Tuesday this should all be fixed.
     
  8. nanademi

    nanademi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    OMG I am just about at the end of my rope. Was awakened last night by the sound of something scratching in the wall/attic above the master bedroom. Looking more closely at the exterior of the house on that corner - The brick has pulled away from the house and there is a gap big enough for a squirrel or possum or Lord knows what to get in.

    If anyone can give me specific information on how to invoke Section 92 of Texas Property Code, i.e. precisely what I need to do next, it would be most appreciated.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,270
    Likes Received:
    5,324
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You don't want free advice. Before you do something that you'll come to regret, HIRE a lawyer, or learn to live with it. Once they get your signature, it's extremely difficult to get out of a lease. Due diligence, not haste my friend, due diligence would have prevented the sticky situation in which you are now firmly ensconced.

    As I said days ago, withholding rent won't get you out of the slum in which you now find yourself. If you despise and deplore yang rent to live in a slum, why would you withholding rent make things any more acceptable?

    If you won't inquire of the landlord, "How much will it cost to let me out of the lease?", prepare for things not to improve after you cut off funding.
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    33,270
    Likes Received:
    5,324
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You don't want free advice. Before you do something that you'll come to regret, HIRE a lawyer, or learn to live with it. Once they get your signature, it's extremely difficult to get out of a lease. Due diligence, not haste my friend, due diligence would have prevented the sticky situation in which you are now firmly ensconced.

    As I said days ago, withholding rent won't get you out of the slum in which you now find yourself. If you despise and deplore yang rent to live in a slum, why would you withholding rent make things any more acceptable?

    If you won't inquire of the landlord, "How much will it cost to let me out of the lease?", prepare for things not to improve after you cut off funding.
     
  11. nanademi

    nanademi Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have no intention of withholding rent - Two wrongs don't make a right and I will honor the commitment that I made and continue to pay rent here until we can get moved. Not doing so weakens my position and makes me no better than them.

    What I will be doing is sending a certified, return receipt required letter stating the facts and that per Paragraph 18 of the lease we signed, Landlord has breached the contract and we will be exercising our right to terminate the lease per Section 92 of the Texas Property Code.

    That is, after I meet with the lawyer tomorrow.
     

Share This Page