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  1. #1
    wendy thornton is offline Junior Member
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    landlord refuses to make repairs

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Idaho....my septic system on my rental property backed into the house...i had to have a septic system service come out and they had to pump the septic tank because it was completely full...they also said that there are repairs that need to be made before the septic system and leech field will be functional...i notified my landlord and he in return called the septic system company to confirm that repairs needed to be made...my landlord called me back and said that I was responsible for the repairs and that i signed an agreement. the agreemnt I signed was for the Maintenance on the property not repairs...i have only been here 2 years 3 months..maintenance on septic systems is to be done every 3 to 5 years..my landlord will only make the repairs if I agree to pay an additional 100 a month in rent to cover his costs he is telling me i have to sign this new agreement or he will evict me..I know he cannot legally do this but I am not in a financial position to get a lawyer...what can i do?
  2. #2
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    [url]https://www2.state.id.us/ag/consumer/manuals/LandlordTenant.pdf[/url] IMPROPER LEASE PROVISIONS
    Lease agreements should not include any unlawful or unenforceable terms, including incorrect or
    misleading statements of the law. Examples of such provisions include those that:• purport to limit the landlord’s liability in situations that conflict with the duties and
    responsibilities that Idaho law imposes upon the landlord; < that was cut from page four. MAINTAINING THE RENTAL PROPERTY
    Landlords and tenants have different responsibilities when it comes to maintaining the rental
    property. Usually, the lease agreement outlines the specific obligations of each party. However,
    the law also places certain property maintenance duties on both landlords and tenants.
    THE LANDLORD’S DUTY TO KEEP THE PROPERTY SAFE AND HEALTHY
    Landlords must maintain the premises to protect a tenant’s safety and health. In that regard,
    landlords must comply with city and county ordinances and state laws regarding housing
    conditions.
    The following are examples of housing conditions that constitute violations:
    • Structural deterioration, including cracked and crumbling walls and ceilings and broken
    or missing doors and windows;
    • Defective plumbing, including a broken toilet, lack of hot/cold water, absent sinks or
    bathing facilities and serious leaks;
    • Exposed wiring;
    • Nonfunctioning heating units;
    • No means to remove or store garbage;
    • Insect infestations;
    • Leaking roof or walls from insufficient waterproofing or weather protection; and
    • Dismantling or not installing smoke detectors. This was cut from pages 6 and 7 THE TENANT’S REMEDIES WHEN THE LANDLORD FAILS TO MAINTAIN THE
    RENTAL PROPERTY
    Notice of Violation
    To require the landlord to maintain the property, the tenant first must provide the landlord with a
    written list of the violations. The tenant can deliver the notice in any of the following ways:
    a. In person;
    b. By certified mail; or
    c. By leaving it with an employee at the landlord’s usual place of business.
    Three-Day Rule
    The landlord has three days to fix the violation. Failure to do so allows the tenant to sue the
    landlord to force compliance.
    Service
    So send your LL a letter via 2 ways confirmed delivery mail and certificate of mailing, yes two copies, certificate of mailing is just over a dollar with postage and confirmed mail delivery a few dollars more , this way there is no way the LL can claim later on you have not complained , If the LL were to try to claim that you had not reported it to him/her. BTW depending on tank size it might have to be pumped sooner than 3 yrs , if it is a ancient system that has two 500 gallon tanks and your household has more than 2 people it might have to be done every other year or even every year. if its a larger system even every two years is not so bad. BUT anyway have it pumped and if the problem returns send the complaint in writting to the LL and if the LL still will not repair it then call city county inspections or zoning desk and tell them about the problem and ask if they can send some one out to look at it. If they wont send someone and LL still will not repair then sue the LL in court for breach of lease asking the court to cancel the lease for you.
  3. #3
    wendy thornton is offline Junior Member
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    septic system

    I was informed by the septic system company that the tank on the property is a "coffin" tank and is approximately 1250 gal tank...south central district health and the septic tank company both specified every 3 to 5 years..also I just found out that to follow the rules of the law I have to submit a 3 day written notice to my landlord which we are in the process of doing at this moment...I did not submit a 3 day notice to have the septic sytem pumped...it was on a friday night and I considered it an emergency so I am assuming I will not be reimbursed by the landlord for the $444.00 I have allready spent..the landlord thinks he is right because of the word "maintenance" used in the agreement...maintenance is 1 thing....repair is another.....
  4. #4
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy thornton View Post
    I was informed by the septic system company that the tank on the property is a "coffin" tank and is approximately 1250 gal tank...south central district health and the septic tank company both specified every 3 to 5 years..also I just found out that to follow the rules of the law I have to submit a 3 day written notice to my landlord which we are in the process of doing at this moment...I did not submit a 3 day notice to have the septic sytem pumped...it was on a friday night and I considered it an emergency so I am assuming I will not be reimbursed by the landlord for the $444.00 I have allready spent..the landlord thinks he is right because of the word "maintenance" used in the agreement...maintenance is 1 thing....repair is another.....
    LL cannot force you to sign anything or threaten with eviction for refusal to sign. Inform LL via CRR(as mentioned before) they have 3 days to repair the problem, or you will be taking legal action.

    As a side note, some states allow a tenant to legally break their lease for any issue involving life safety if the LL fails to repair within 5 days of being notified. Raw sewage backing up into the rental unit would fall into this category. However you would have to prove it was of no fault of your own, and the negligence of the LL to make repairs or maintain properly.
  5. #5
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    I have a hard time seeing your LLs defense actually working if you had to sue him in court , since it appears your state consumer laws list defective plumbing despite what your lease says , see even with what the honeysucker firm told you , how do you know that past tenants actually had it pumped? Also no one really would know if past tenants treated the house as if they had city sewer or not meaning frequent clean ups from repainting, latex particles, how many products had silica sands , feminine hygene products, baby wipes, or how much food got run down down the drains with finger disposal , the list of abuses is quite long. Anyway treat the whole thing as if your going to have to sue your LL by creating paper trails, this way in the end if there is more going on than the system needing to be pumped your able to document it.
  6. #6
    wendy thornton is offline Junior Member
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    landlord tenant dispute

    my landlord just received my written notice via fax..he immediatley called me on the phone and threatened to evict me..he also threatened to take criminal action against regardless of what he has to pay...he refuses to repair the septic system UNLESS I sign an agreement to raise my rent 100 per month...he also told me that if I make any repairs on the property he will sue me for damages...i told him I couldnt make repairs until after the 3 days is up..he called me a **** and a bitch and hung up on me
  7. #7
    mulderlx is offline Junior Member
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    landlord'a anger

    Ok, this is now moving beyond a legal issue. You are dealing with a mentally unstable person and you could be in danger. Call the police, then document the next phone call (there will be another one like this), get a recording device and record the entire conversation. Keep your doors locked at all times and if you leave and come try to find a friend or family member to escort and stay with you.

    Remember that there have been too many incidences of missed clues about murderous rampages in our nation's recent past (i.e. Seung Hui Cho, and yesterday's plane suicide crash into the IRS building). This person, your LL, needs help. Good luck.
  8. #8
    wendy thornton is offline Junior Member
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    landlord tenant dispute

    my landlord also informed me that HE called the Attorney Generals Office in Boise, Idaho and spoke WITH the attorney general..according to him the Attorney General said that he as a property owner DOES NOT have to pay for ANY repairs on the property and that he can EVICT me at any time...my LL also said he called the Public Utilites Commission and spoke to a Jeff...and according to my LL Jeff stated the same thing....I called both places and I actually spoke to the Individuals that had spoken to my LL...BOTH people informed me that they told my LL that they cannot give out legal advise and that he should get a copy of the State approved pamphlet Title Landlord and Tenant guidelines..my LL mentioned to them that the signed agreement between myself and him SPECIFIES that I am responsible for the maintenance on the property...it does say that.....but the septic system NEEDS to be repaired...there is a specific difference between maintaining something and repairing something..my landlord stated that it meant both
  9. #9
    wendy thornton is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarmerJ View Post
    I have a hard time seeing your LLs defense actually working if you had to sue him in court , since it appears your state consumer laws list defective plumbing despite what your lease says , see even with what the honeysucker firm told you , how do you know that past tenants actually had it pumped? Also no one really would know if past tenants treated the house as if they had city sewer or not meaning frequent clean ups from repainting, latex particles, how many products had silica sands , feminine hygene products, baby wipes, or how much food got run down down the drains with finger disposal , the list of abuses is quite long. Anyway treat the whole thing as if your going to have to sue your LL by creating paper trails, this way in the end if there is more going on than the system needing to be pumped your able to document it.
    what is a "honeysucker firm"?
  10. #10
    Who's Liable? is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy thornton View Post
    my landlord also informed me that HE called the Attorney Generals Office in Boise, Idaho and spoke WITH the attorney general..according to him the Attorney General said that he as a property owner DOES NOT have to pay for ANY repairs on the property and that he can EVICT me at any time...my LL also said he called the Public Utilites Commission and spoke to a Jeff...and according to my LL Jeff stated the same thing....I called both places and I actually spoke to the Individuals that had spoken to my LL...BOTH people informed me that they told my LL that they cannot give out legal advise and that he should get a copy of the State approved pamphlet Title Landlord and Tenant guidelines..my LL mentioned to them that the signed agreement between myself and him SPECIFIES that I am responsible for the maintenance on the property...it does say that.....but the septic system NEEDS to be repaired...there is a specific difference between maintaining something and repairing something..my landlord stated that it meant both
    If this were true, your state has the WORST AG ever! I would seriously consider moving states.

    Your LL is completely wrong and grasping at straws. A LL CANNOT evict any time they please if you have a valid lease WITHOUT going through the proper procedures.

    Continue to follow through the proper steps to remedy the situation, and document EVERYTHING! It will be MUCH easier to prove your position to a judge.

    Additionally, if the LL shows up at your door and is beligerant and you feel threatened do not be afraid to call the police or inform the LL to leave.

    DO NOT tape a phone conversation UNLESS you are specifically allowed to do so by your state. You can inform the LL immediately at the beginning of the conversation of the tape and see if he is more cordial. Regardless, you can try and issue it as evidence to a judge.
  11. #11
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
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    I find it hard (if not IMPOSSIBLE) to believe that the LL actually spoke with these people he claims to have said he had spoken to. Sounds to me like he is grasping at straws and trying to bully his way out of having to pay for these repairs. He'll say anything if he thinks he can convince you to pay for his failure to repair the septic tank. Its a very costly repair and he's trying to see what he can do to place the blame on you.

    The LL cannot force you to sign anything. He cannot legally evict you for refusing to sign on for the $100/mo rent increase (ESPECIALLY if you have an unexpired lease). As long as you follow the law and cover yourself legally, he is retaliating and you can fight him on it. Each threat he makes will be more costly to him over and above the cost to make those repairs.

    Stand firm. And contact a local attorney or legal ASAP to provide you with solid legal representation from this point forward. I'm pretty sure you'll need it.
  12. #12
    wendy thornton is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you

    Thanks to all who have posted there responses..it has been very informative and extremely helpful...i am goin to hold my ground against this bully of a landlord come what may!!!....just wanted to make sure I could legally do it!!!...thank you again for all ur support and I will keep u informed of the situation
  13. #13
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Wendy Your LL is full of it , If having the tank pumped doesnt do it and the problem returns then call your city or county health dept or zoning desk and tell them the septic system is not working after being pumped and the LL knows there is a problem and refuses to fix it and you would like them to have some one come out , examine it and send him a letter telling him to fix it with in a set time , If LL wont fix it after they come out then push for them to condemn the system so you are able to move since no one can live in a home with a condemned septic system, Keep a copy of any work order they write or any condemn order In a safe place away from the house. carefully review and learn your states landlord tenant laws so your able to fight back if he tries to bypass your states law and remember state laws supercede leases , any wording in a lease that violates state law will not be upheld by courts.
  14. #14
    wendy thornton is offline Junior Member
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    landlord tenant dispute

    well...I just got a letter from a law firm..my ll apparently called them and had them type it up...it says that I cannot make any repairs to the property...it states that starting march 1st 2010 my rent will be 2000.00 and if i dont pay the rent i have to be vacated by march 5th...my rent has been 600.00 he is doing this in direct retaliation for my refusal to pay to have the septic sytem. oh..the in the letter it states ..."please be aware that this will not be the first in a long line of threatening letters"...is that even professional conduct on a lawyers part?
  15. #15
    FarmerJ is offline Senior Member
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    Wendy your LL can pay a atty what ever he wants to write a letter , it does not give him the right to shortcut your states laws , item 11 from the link I gave you in a earlier posting says >CHANGING THE LEASE
    A lease, like a contract, may not be changed without the consent of both parties. However, when
    the lease term ends, the landlord may change the terms of the agreement.
    NOTICE
    In a month-to-month tenancy, the landlord may change the agreement by notifying the tenant in
    writing at least 15 days before the month’s end. The change then becomes effective if the tenant
    continues to occupy the property after the last day of the month.< So if you go the notice today feb 20 and are a month to month renter the notice does not meet your states laws since it appears it must be in your possession 15 days before months end it is not valid. Do plan on moving at some point. Keep that letter in a safe place away from the house along with copies of every thing else you had been and to hell with pumping , call in building inspections or the health dept and let them deal with it. BTW at this point since he thinks he can get you out that easy by all means begin to document with pictures the condition of the house and let him take you to court, Line 16 says > RETALITORY EVICTIONS
    Landlords may not evict a tenant because the tenant requests that repairs be made or because the
    tenant joins a tenants’ association. Wendy even if by chance the notice met time line for proper delivery at this point do you really think a court would not see this as retaliation? Start searching with in your state to see if you can get legal aide society services , if you cannot , study up on your states laws and plan on going to court. Do not just move out , you need inspections reports to prove that the system had failed in order to back your self up in court. Your LLs atty no matter what he said in paper knows what the laws are in your state and as a rental consumer you too should. The basic information was there READ it again.
    Last edited by FarmerJ; 02-20-2010 at 11:51 AM.

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