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Would Disabilities Act Apply? Other Ideas?

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by dancleg, Sep 14, 2010.

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  1. dancleg

    dancleg Law Topic Starter New Member

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    First off, I apologize if this is in the wrong category, but it's about a situation with my landlord. I also apologize if this is confusing...it's kind of complicated.

    I live in a mobile home park in WI. I own the trailer and rent the lot. I have several medical conditions that would qualify alone/together as disabilities under the Disabilities Act...something I only use if I HAVE to. Our homes our very close together (less than 80 feet I'd say) and being mobile homes, not well sealed (and sealing will still allow the smoke in...I've researched it). My neighbors on both sides have wood-burning fireplaces, and when either of them are using theirs, my entire house STINKS. Some days it's tolerable, and other days it makes me sick or makes my conditions worse. I can't stand to go outside when their fires are going. One neighbor mostly quit using their fireplace, but the other uses theirs as soon as it gets cooler out, almost every night & day, until summer. He uses dry wood according to the landlord, and the smoke produced is clear...but my research says that if you smell it you're still getting the toxins, which would have a lot to do with why I feel sick.

    Although the county has laws that would apply to this, so far they refuse to do anything. I complained to the landlord who said that the authorities he checked with said that if the fireplace is working properly and in the home, he can't do anything about it. I do plan to resume my complaints once it starts up again, armed with more information...but I thought of using the ADA as a backup plan. The biggest problem would be my condition vs the wording of the ordinances...My sense of smell is more sensitive than most, I have asthma and allergies, migraines, and nausea....among other things. The ordinances I was going to use to help me typically talk about odors that are offensive to the "average" person. So, I've yet to mention these problems to the landlord.

    I found at least one other case involving something similar...a city was sued under ADA because a disabled child couldn't go to the park because of wood smoke.

    I know the ADA covers public access and fair housing, but would it cover the ability to enjoy my home and rented lot? Or can anyone think of anything else I could try?

    Thanks for any help...just don't know what else to do!
    Candi
     
  2. Prov31Wmn

    Prov31Wmn New Member

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    Candi, the laws regarding rental properties and mobile homes are different. Having never had to deal with mobile homes I must admit this is not my expertise. But as no one has responded to you I want to offer you something. You mentioned there are laws the county has that addresses your problem that are not being enforced. Sounds like that is one area of recourse to put pressure on who is to enforce the laws and make them follow through. If they refuse to, approach your elected officials for assistance. Also, it sounds like your landlord is trying to provide what assistance s/he can. Perhaps a second recourse is the two of you putting your heads together and coming up with a solution. You mentioned the closeness of the mobile homes that may be a factor. Would it help if the landlord allowed you to move your unit to another spot on the lot? You also say you have a disability that may cause you to be more sensitive to the smoke. You must consider that you are entitled to rights to enjoy your residence, but not MORE rights that may infringe upon others enjoyment of their homes. For example if a landlord has no restrictions for smoking cigarettes and owns an apartment building with half the occupants being smokers. A new tenant moves in and is alergic to cigarette smoke can't force all the other tenants not to smoke. Your other recourse could be to relocate and ask questions of the next landlord to determine if there are factors you know would negatively effect your health, to make a more educated decision of whether you want to live there. I wish you well with it. I can imagine it is uncomfortable for you. I experienced something similar and I never complained about it (I knew the landlord wouldn't do anything) and eventually moved. Hopefully you find a resolution everyone involved can live with.
     
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  3. dancleg

    dancleg Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, the landlord is basically refusing to do anything at this point, as is the county. I'm going to keep pushing them, but looking for other options as well. We'd like to move, but moving the trailer would cost thousands of dollars, and we can't get a home loan right now for a traditional home...so we're kind of stuck. As far as the other side of the lot...no go...the driveway and septic vent pipe are there. One other option I've found is EPA carbon monoxide levels...but a low level meter is very expensive....my disabilities would have no effect on those laws.

    Thanks for your help!
     

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