What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Maine
There are repairs that need to be made to the home I rent. I have asked the landlord (LL) to repair these items verbally over the past 3 years and even tho the LL stated they would they never did.
Fast forward to Oct. of 2010 I found the home had over 10 square feet of mold in 3 separate rooms. This is due to a flood in the home, caused by the LL shutting off the heat in the winter of 2007 and not draining the pipes, before I moved in. The first time I looked at the home they were supposedly fixing it.
When I moved in, they had replaced the floors and water tank. Recently I went to put up a shelf in the bedroom closet and discovered the wall felt "squishy". Upon further investigation I noticed the wall was no longer one piece (a 4x8 piece of drywall) but in fact several hundred pieces. Due to the water damage and time (I'd been here 3 years), the wall molded and rotted and fell apart. On the inside of the wall, the insulation is molded as well as the 2' x 4' studs and inside of the wall. It is pure black inside the walls in some areas and where there is insulation, there is mold covering that as well, growing right up the walls (as high as 5 feet in some areas). In order to find this I had to look behind the pieces of the drywall wall. I didn't tear the wall apart, it fell apart due to the wall being so wet. Once I took a tiny piece of wall paper off that was it. It spans the entire closet in the master bedroom (12 feet) and 7 feet in another room as well as at least a foot in the bathroom. There could be a lot more, but since it's hidden and in the walls, one would need to take the walls apart to find it. (I am about to do this).
Mold is only one issue. The storm door in the entry way has a hole at the bottom of it on both sides that allows air to leak thru. I'm talking HUGE gapes. Also none of the windows will open except the bedroom window. The electrical wires on the water heater are not enclosed. All of these things I mentioned are code violations. I had a home inspector look at the place.
I sent a letter to the LL via certified mail with return receipt, stating the mold was a health hazard, I had to go to the ER because I was having allergic reactions to it and now taking medicine. Furthermore I have to see an allergist. My diagnosis "allergic sinusitis" in the ER, caused by mold. Of course an allergist would know exactly 100% if it was due to the mold.
Upon reading the letter, the LL called me up and stated he would NOT repair anything and for me to leave within 2 weeks. Of course I know my rights and I don't have to leave without a court order.
A code enforcement officer would find the place unfit to live in and my state has an implied warranty of habitability.
It's not that easy to just "leave". I asked the landlord for my security deposit when he spoke to me and he said he'd make it right (and I walk on water and cows fly too). I told the LL that by law I was to be given a 30 day notice and furthermore the LL needed to pay for the doctor's bills as well as give me my deposit back asap. If/when the home is condemned, what purpose would it serve?
The LL stated he was going to and I quote "move the mobile home of the property and condemn it". I'd like to know how one can condemn their own mobile home? I asked if that meant a code enforcer was being called by the LL and was told no.
My rent was paid in full when the letter was sent. I realize the law in Maine states that I am to pay rent for any time I live here, even if it's later condemned (a judge would award partial or no previous rent back depending on if the home is condemned/ considered not fit for habitability etc.)
My question is, how do I sue the LL for my dr bills, make him pay for the visit to the allergist as well as the medicine I am to take? It is well known that he knew and caused the flood in the home and did not fix it properly. Isn't that negligence, when a wet wall is covered up by wall paper and mold is allowed to form and the tenant isn't told? How do I bring the LL to court without having to pay thousands of dollars to a civil lawyer? I have called some lawyers that deal with accidents/injuries when I first found out about the mold and am waiting to see if they'll take my case on a contingency base (aka they'd get a percentage of whatever we won). I know the landlord can be sued as well as the insurance company.
I bet anything the insurance company paid for the place to be fixed. I'd love to find out who the insurance company is as I'd report it wasn't fixed. I did call the manufacturer of the water tank and gave them the model #/ serial # on the tank so they'd know that it was improperly installed.
Is there a way to find out who insures (name of company) the mobile home I've rented? Is there a way to find out if it was condemned or considered not fit for habitability before I moved in?
What do I do? I don't have thousands of dollars for first, last and a security deposit to move out. I am on unemployment (lost my job in this fine economy) so who seriously is going to rent to me?
Do I call the code enforcer and have them come in? They will force the LL to fix the violations or fine the LL if they are not done. I don't think they will condemn it. This will prevent the LL from slapping another piece of wallboard or just wall paper up over the wall and cover the mold and renting it out to another unsuspecting tenant. But, I will be forced to leave. I know I should leave as it's making me sick but I have no where to go. There is no "help" for renters in this situation. I've called the red cross but it's not a disaster. If the place burned they'd help but if the place is filled with mold... nope they won't.
Could someone tell me plz how long after it's considered unfit for habitability will I have to move out? Also if you know of an organization that will help in an emergency situation like this please advise. I've called everywhere from Red Cross to the Masons to the United Way and can't get any help.
I'm not trying to be a free loader. I've paid my bills on time. I got laid off and am having a hard time finding a job like millions of Americans are.
Do I just stay here and get so sick that I almost die in order for someone to help? What do I do?? I've contacted every legal agency, housing authority, health inspector (state and local) as well as the Governor of my state. Do I contact the newspapers, local news next? Have them come in and video tape the mold and show it on tv? How do I get attention brought to my case and the help I need.
In my state it seems landlords have all the rights and tenants have none.