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Problem with Landlord

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Latest post Fri, Feb 27 2009 9:08 AM by Drew. 5 replies.
  • Wed, Feb 25 2009 6:23 PM

    Angry [:@] Problem with Landlord

    My family just moved into a house January 1st. It is a very nice house, but of course things do break. Since we moved in the garage door springs broke, and our heat went out. then the same day our heat went out our dishwasher stopped working. I know a maintenance technician who came over and he told us that the panel is shot, and would be cheaper to replace then to repair.
    I notified our landlord, and he complained stating that the people who lived there before didn't give him any problems, and that from now on we're responsible for all maintenance and repairs of the house. He also mentioned that it's a house NOT an apartment (Like that matters, it's still a rental property)
    I of course also know that there is no logic behind the statement of there not being any problems before....there's problems NOW!

    1. We Do have a lease in which the dishwasher is included in the inventory.
    2. The lease indicates that we are repsonsible for replacing light bulbs, unclogging drains, etc. but nothing indicating we are fully responsible for EVERYTHING. the lease even uses the legal phrases of "Except as prohibited by law" in the maintenance section. So I'm aware that heating, plumbing and electrical are SUPPOSSED to be covered by him.
    3. He refuses to respond to my emails now too.

    Here's the thing I'm worried about... he did a 6 month lease to see how things go, and I know in the state of Wisconsin you can non-renew someone for any reason (as long as it's not based on retalitory or discrimination). I actually work in the property management field, but where my dilema is.... How should I approach this? I'm basically looking for some advice as to what I should say or do with my landlord. We do not want to move when our lease is up, so I don't want to tick him off, but I also need to make sure we are not being taken advantage of here. Just wondering if anyone else has ever run into this situation and can lead me in the right direction.

    Thank you!

  • Thu, Feb 26 2009 9:04 AM In reply to

    re: Problem with Landlord

    Not fully understanding the problem here. The gargage springs broke. the furnace and dishwasher quit working. Maintenance guy said panel is shot. So does this mean the furnace and dishwasher are working but the electrical panel is bad?
  • Thu, Feb 26 2009 2:54 PM In reply to

    Feedback [*=*] re: Problem with Landlord

    Furnace is now working, but the panel on the dishwasher is broken meaning the dishwasher won't work.
    Landlord refuses to fix things now because he claims we are having too many problems, so everything is now our responsibility.
  • Thu, Feb 26 2009 5:10 PM In reply to

    re: Problem with Landlord

    I think it will all hinge on the wording of the lease. Is there anything in your lease that speaks to appliances, repairs, tenant and LL responsibilities?

    My feeling is that the LL should be on the hook to fix a furnace but the broken garage door and DW Panel MIGHT indicate excessive wear and tear. For instance; a DW might have a timer go bad from normal use but a broken handle might be from misuse. Same with a garage. If the kids are slamming it shut and it breaks, that would be the tenant responsibility in my opinion to fix.

    What does the lease say and do you have an opinion from the repair person as to the likley cause?

    Best you can do really is give written demand to have items fixed. I would also include the argument that the failures are due to normal wear and tear, not abuse.

    If you do not get any satisfaction; check your state LL and Tenant laws about repairs and warrents of habitability. You may find the court sanctioned remedy for situations like this. Most states are different. Some will allow you to repair and deduct from rent. Others will allow you to withold rent until it is fixed etc....
  • Thu, Feb 26 2009 5:47 PM In reply to

    Note [#=#] re: Problem with Landlord

    Well, we just moved in on December 27th, so anything broken from wear and tear wouldd have ben caused by the previous tenants.

    The lease states that we are responsible for light bulbs, drain clogs, lawn maintenance, snow removal, and regular routine maintenance such as cleaning the gutters. It wasn't until we told him about the dishwasher that he said we are now responsible for all maintenance AND repairs. He claims because the people that lived there before didn't cause him any problems and that it's a house not an apartment. Last time I checked, we're renting the house NOT owning it.
  • Fri, Feb 27 2009 9:08 AM In reply to

    • Drew
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,431

    Re: re: Problem with Landlord

    Laymans suggestion:


    General rule is LL cannot alter the lease terms to suit him after the fact!


    If the LL wrote a poorly worded maintenance clause then the general view is that the person who wrote it gets to eat the problems.


    Whether or not broken dishwasher  or door springs is routine maintenace may depend on your point of view.....and its not a productive war worth a gight--but a compromise?


    But his oral comments that you are responsible for all repairs and maintenance won't cut it if put to test!


    That said, in some leases for a home it does read that tenant up picks up all or nearly all the responsibilities a homeowner would pick up!  But thats apparently not what your lease says....



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