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  1. #1

    Refusing to renew lease due to complaints about repairs not done

    What is the name of your state? SC

    Can a landlord refuse to renew your lease because you complained about repairs not being done until they finally did them 8 months into a 1 year lease?

    I've always paid my rent on time and actually have made minor improvement and significant clean up of the property. I'm disabled and it would be a major thing for me to have to move.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Search your states statutes for landlord and tenant to look at retaliation and to see if its been addressed. In many places LLs do not need a valid reason to refuse to renew A lease unless state laws require a provable reason. So when you began to complain about repairs DID you keep all request in writting , keep copy, sent with a method that gave you proof of sending it? if so and you are able to learn from your states laws a definition for retaliation that meets the LLs actions then you can fight it , other wise the sooner you start packing things and get them into a self storage unit the easier it will be for you on moving day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Central VA


    The answer is YES and this is common when dealing with tenants who complain a lot...depending on the type of repairs and if they significantly effected the habitability of the property, you might have been better to live with the situation or correct them yourselves.

    I would suggest that other issues may be at work in your landlord's decision addition to the "too many complaints" situation.

    Lastly, the rental market nationwide has tightened considerably and landlords with undesirable tenants are removing or not renewing leases in the hopes of attracting higher paying applicants with better credit and/or landlord references.

  4. #4

    Disabled Mom

    Try not to worry. First, research landlord/tenant statutes for your state. I hope that your state acknowledges retaliation by landlords. And don't worry about what cvillepmc says. That person is highly criticized on this site for giving shady advice. The landlord/tenant market will always be open. We live in a society where there is no job security. Landlords will forever face tenants coming and going because of it. Landlords will not be getting tenants with better credit and rental histories as the quailty of life continues to diminish. But it's most important that you find out what your rights are particularly as a disabled person. The majority here lend advice to support landlords, not tenants. If you are legally disabled, you have more rights. Do things according to the laws of your state; a judge will not allow your landlord to evict you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Pittsburgh (North Hills)
    You have a lease (legal contract) for 12 months. The landlord is not obligated to renew that contract after 12 months for any reason.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Naples, Florida
    Can a landlord refuse to renew your lease because you complained about repairs not being done until they finally did them 8 months into a 1 year lease?
    Has the landlord already refused to renew your lease? If so, did he/she offer the complaints you made as reasons for the non-renewal or is this an assumption your part?

    I've always paid my rent on time and actually have made minor improvement and significant clean up of the property.
    As others have pointed out here, many rental agreements permit either party to opt out of renewals with adequate notice. But, other forces are at work here. The same Fair Housing Act and the American with Disabilities Act that protected you against discrimination when you rented the apartment are still in place when you seek to renew.

    The landlord may be aware of other offenses that you've not told us about here. But, if I were your landlord, I would want more ammunition than a few complaints about repairs that needed to be made before I refused a renewal from a member of a protected class.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Can a landlord refuse to renew your lease because you complained about repairs not being done until they finally did them 8 months into a 1 year lease?
    Did your landlord actually state your complaining was the reason for non-renewal? Or is that your take on why your lease is not being renewed?

    ARTICLE 9.

    SECTION 27-40-910. Retaliatory conduct prohibited.

    (a) Except as provided in this section, a landlord shall not retaliate by increasing rent to an amount in excess of fair-market value or decreasing essential services or by bringing an action for possession after:

    (1) the tenant has complained to a governmental agency charged with responsibility for enforcement of a building or housing code of a violation applicable to the premises materially affecting health and safety; or

    (2) the tenant has complained to the landlord of a violation of this chapter.

    (b) If the landlord acts in violation of subsection (a), the tenant is entitled to the remedies provided in Section 27-40-660 as a defense in any retaliatory action against him for possession. If the defense by the tenant is without merit, the landlord is entitled to reasonable attorney's fees. If the defense is raised in bad faith, the landlord may recover up to three month's periodic rent or treble the actual damages, whichever is greater. If the landlord recovers damages under this section, he may not also recover damages under Section 27-40-760.

    (c) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), a landlord may bring an action for possession if:

    (1) the violation of the applicable building or housing code was caused primarily by lack of reasonable care by the tenant, a member of his family, or other person on the premises with his permission or who is allowed access to the premises by the tenant, or

    (2) there is material noncompliance by the tenant under Section 27-40-710 or Section 27-40-720; or

    (3) compliance with the applicable building or housing code requires alteration, remodeling, or demolition which would effectively deprive the tenant of use of the dwelling unit.

    (d) The maintenance of an action under subsection (c) does not release the landlord from liability under subsection (b) of Section 27-40-610.

    (e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) a landlord who rents more than four adjoining dwelling units on the premises may increase rent without there being a presumption of retaliation, provided that the increase applies uniformly to all tenants, or so long as the rent does not exceed the fair-market value.

    (f) In an action for possession where the tenant intends to raise a defense under this section, the tenant must notify the landlord in writing within ten days after service of the Rule to Vacate or Show Cause of his intent to do so. After the tenant has filed an Answer to the Rule, the court shall hear the matter as promptly as is feasible.

    (g) If the landlord retaliates against the tenant for engaging in conduct protected under section (a) by refusing to renew the lease, and if the tenant is not in default as to payment of rent, the landlord may not recover possession of the dwelling unit for seventy-five days and may not increase rent to an amount in excess of fair-market value or decrease essential services pending the recovery of the dwelling unit, provided that the tenant proves the landlord's violation of this chapter, the landlord had notice of such violation, and the landlord had notice of the tenant's complaint prior to expiration of the lease.

    (h) Any landlord who acts in retaliation against the tenant for engaging in protected conduct is liable for damages up to three month's rent or treble the actual damages sustained by the tenant, whichever is greater, and reasonable attorney's fees. Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit an action for damages after a landlord has recovered possession of the dwelling unit in subsection (c), provided the ejectment was primarily in retaliation against the tenant's protected conduct.

  8. #8

    Nonrenewal for asking for repairs

    1. To FarmerJ Yes, I sent all my requests by email and saved her responses. The only thing I don't have proof of is the highlighted move-in statement the first repairman came over with saying those were the items to be addressed. The owner-rep (real estate agent) emailed me saying the 'most important' items would be done. Some were trivial - like I agreed to move in w/o unit being painted if I could paint accent wall color. Others were more major - like the fence in disrepair - holes in it let my dog escape, posts rusted and broken at the ground level, and flooding by the back yard exit everytime it rained (came inside twice).

    With the back yard in the condition it was in, I had to tie my dog up in the front yard by the street - which I really didn't want to do because there were 3 drug houses near me for the first 6 months. One was the other half of my duplex and two were across the street. We even had a driveby shooting and my car window was shot out. Luckily no one was injured.

    The reason I want to stay is all of that is cleaned up now - With a lot of neighborhood effort and the landlord across the street evicting his tenants. And just this past week, after living here 8 months, they finally finished fixing the fence right and I can put my dog out and she can run! Others repairs were closing up a hole in the eave where rodents were getting into the attic, caulking around the tub/shower (I'm horrible at it), fixing nail poking up through the carpet from the tack strips (I tried doing what I could), fixing outdoor faucets - one sprays up into an electrical outlet when a hose is attached, other you can't turn without a wrench (repairman says he can't do it a plumber will have to do it), etc. As far as doing them myself, I've did what I could including a LOT of cleaning up the yard trash, brush, overgrowth vines, etc.- the MAIN thing I was upset about was not having a yard for my dog - that was the main reason I rented a duplex/townhouse in the first place instead of an apartment - and I couldn't do those repairs due to my back injury/disability. Oh and I did pay an extra nonrefundable deposit for two pets - dog and cat that I lose when/if I move. And she did know I'm disabled. I told her I get my Social Security check on the third and we agreed I could be a few days late on my rent as long as it was not too long after the third.

    your states laws a definition for retaliation..... I wouldn't know where to find them...

    When she told me the owner wasn't going to renew my lease she also stated, " try finding housing in 'that' price range..." What I really think is that now that I have put all this work cleaning up this place and heavily encouraged them to finish the repairs which are basically done now, I think they want to charge - a lot more - for the unit.

  9. #9
    To Cvillecpm: IIIIIII - I don't think I complained a lot. I insisted they do the repairs they said they were going to do and do them right. And it took them 8 months to complete!!! I was VERY patient- NOT calling everyday. My first insistance was Sept (two months after I moved in) then Nov (2 more months later), then Jan (another 2 months). After being fooled by a repairman coming over twice but essentially not doing anything but 'evaluating', in Jan I decided it was time to keep at it till it was done.

    Their initial 'fix' of the fence SIX months after I moved in made it worse (more holes for my dog to escape). They initially reused the chain link they had to cut up because trees and brush had grown thru it. I did NOT request this fix. I mentioned the fence posts were rusted and broken at the ground level- they could have just replaced the posts, left the fence where it was and cut the trees (max 3 inch diameter) out of the fencing. Then they didn't even do what I needed which was replace approx 10 feet of chain link along the front and on the gate where it had 6- 8 inch gaps in it. After this 'fix' and actually emailing me to tell me the fence was done, I did call the office crying I was so upset. It was WORSE than it had been previously!!! It was shoddy workmanship. His reply was - I can only do what they authorize me and 'they wanted him to reuse the fencing' but he didn't tell them he had cut it up obviously. Oh - and then he tried to 'cover up' the holes by raking a bunch of leaves up by the holes - and making a mess where I had just raked it all into a pile.

    As far as living with the situation, if they'd refused to fix it, I would have moved. I moved here instead of an apartment with a pool so I'd have a yard for my dog. As it was, I was kept strung along - for 6 months until when I decided it was time for them to do what they said they'd do.

    Other issues************** they probably drove by and saw how I cleaned up the property and now that the neighborhood is cleaned up (we have a neighborhood watch) they probably want a lot more $ for the unit. I expect an increase but don't know if they are limited in the amount. With the unit attached to mine vacant for Jan and Feb, I figure they lost $100/month rent on that one for the year.

    Last edited by DisabledMom656; 03-13-2007 at 12:42 AM. Reason: mistype
  10. #10

    Encouragement deeply appreciated !!!

    To Reincarnated: Thank you so much for you kind words of encouragement. When the unit next to me was vacated by the 'druggies', that unit was vacant for two months. A lot of income to loose... The previous tenant had only been there one year. The previous tenant in my unit broke his lease and moved out. I realize what cvillepmc says is not exactly on the mark. I would think landlords would highly appreciate tenants who take good care of their properties instead of running them down. Like I've done. Does the landlord think they can get more?... yeah if he's taken a driveby and seen all the yard work I've done to clean it up. I don't think anything is done between tenants to clean units. My unit had dirty carpets, wall holes patched and not repainted and trash left in the yard. The excessive brush that grew up around the property help damage the fence instead of keeping it in good shape.

    I am willing to go to court on this and I am keeping good records.

    Oh and as far as my rental history, previously I'd been a home owner but my back injury washed that up. Luckily I get a regular SS check now and have NOT been late on my rent payments.

    Thank You

  11. #11

    No other offenses!!!

    To Paddy Reagan: Yes the real estate agent has informed me(verbally only) that the owner would not be renewing my lease specifically 'because we don't think you'll ever be happy there' when we were talking about the the fence still needing to be fixed and trash left in the yard by the workers. I asked her if there was an escrow account I could put my rent check into until the repairs were done - right. That's when she hit me with it...

    I have absolutely done nothing wrong that would warrant me being evicted - other than that I've complained about the repairs - not being done - being done improperly. I haven't even called her names or anything - I hate those shows on TV where people do that. Oh, I did ask if one of the non-English speaking workers who'd been left here on his own to do work had a permanent residency permit (green card). She said that was the repairman's business not hers.

    By the way, the very next day after this conversation, the repairman did come over - unexpectedly and FINISHED fixing the fencing and cleaned up the yard.


    Last edited by DisabledMom656; 03-14-2007 at 12:22 AM.
  12. #12

    Thank You for the statutes

    To Treese: Are those statutes federal or state? State of SC?

    I don't think any of the problems with the unit were code or building violations except maybe the rodent issue and she had someone come over pretty quickly to put poison up in the attic. It took the repairman another three weeks to close the hole with that foam filling.

    I do think that I should be somewhat protected under the Disabilities Act as someone else mentioned.

    I'm HOPING she just said this to try to upset me - which was very effective obviously. Also I do send positive email when something goes right - and did after the fence was done so I'm also hoping that if what she said was true, they will change their mind when things settle down over the next 4 months - as repairs are now essentially done to what I can live with. I just can't be left hanging and then told at the last minute that I need to vacate. Thirty days is not enough time for me to pack up, get the money, man power, find a decent place, etc with my back injury. I have asked them to reconsider and let me know. She said she'd discuss it with the owner but I've yet to hear from her. And if her response time is anything like it has been in the past, I won't know till they are required to tell me.

    The day I turned my move-in statement in to the office I should have realized that this company was going to be bad on repairs. I was laughed at by another agent in the office for itemizing all the items I did. I was told that if I expected all that to be done, I needed to move into one of his 'more expensive' units. Then he went on to tell my about his two jobs he held down to get to where he was.... Did I realize this was discrimination? .... Oh yeah - but there's nothing I can do to prove it, much less prove the conversation took place. And he wasn't my real estate agent.

    And I used to be an Intensive Care RN for over 20 years working thru lunches, without breaks lots of days, working lots of extra shifts, dealing with staff downsizing, until my back finally said no more. Raising a child by myself. And I get to be treated like trash by the likes of him because I can't afford more than ~ $600/month

    Thank You so much for sending me this information. I think I may try to call someone tomorrow and see if I can get some local help with the housing authorities or someone.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Well, I will have to disagree with most of the posters here. You signed a one year contract and if has reached or is about to reach the legal termination date. Your landlord with probable good reason, at least in his mind feels that renting to you is more trouble than its worth. He has therefore decided not to rent to you any longer. Not exactly a crime. it is his property.

    You claim that the neighborhood has joined in to help you with some of the repairs. That in itself is a risk that landlord need not accept. If someone were to get hurt while helping you out, the first one sued will be the landlord. Yes you can pull the disability card but you know this is not about you being disabled. It seems these days that everyone is pulling one card or another when things don’t go their way. I think you may be interested to learn that even the Fair Housing Act has exemptions and your landlord may be legally exempt under the provisions of the act.

    P.S. Now this doesn’t mean you should fight this. But you should know that unless you have any evidence besides a conversation or two that supposedly took place then all you have is “ he said-she said”

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Central VA
    Now re-reading your posts and responses....I don't think it is your repair handiwork that your landlord is appreciating, it is probably the cleanup of the area and wanting to get better residents into the property for more rental income AND the less complaining.

    Having a dog at a rental property is a priviledge not a RIGHT...if you moved into a property that would not accommodate your dog comfortably (fence not repaired), shame on you.....your wanting to PAINT MY PROPERTY would have been the RED FLAG for me and if you are disabled, how are you painting accent walls? If you are getting unpaid, unprofessional assistance to work on your landlord's property that is another RED FLAG as it shows a stubornness to get your own way with no regard for the rights of your landlord to manage and maintain her property.

    Your ideas of upgrades (accent walls) are probably not your landlord's idea and there may be items you have done at the property that she does not appreciate....

    Making you HAPPY or COMFORTABLE at their rental property is not the landlord's responsibility and I post this response knowing you will rebutt everything I and AK LL have provided as you apparently wish to argue.....I suggest your landlord is tired of it PERIOD.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Oh and I did pay an extra nonrefundable deposit for two pets - dog and cat that I lose when/if I move. And she did know I'm disabled. I told her I get my Social Security check on the third and we agreed I could be a few days late on my rent as long as it was not too long after the third.

    As I suspected, this is not about disability. Incidentally, rentals don’t usually have to be painted for new tenants. And the water valve not working in the back yard may have been intentionally done to prevent the misuse of water by tenants.

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