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habitability

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B

bkrairaenn

Guest
Wisconsin
I rent an apartment in Wisconsin, my landlord lives in Florida and has a manager in Wisconsin. The bedroom carpets have so much gum in them that when it gets hot outside I can feel my feet stick to it. The screens for the windows either do not fit, so that there are spaces around them, or they have holes in them. Two windows do not open because the opening mechanisms have been removed. Out of eleven windows/screens one is in good enough shape to open without bugs getting through. We have enough of a bug problem already so we never open the windows. Because of the recent heat advisories I have been worried about our health because we have no way to cool the place down. I have even missed work from heat exhaustion. I will have lived in this apartment for 5 months on August 1. The landlord/manager still has not made the an attempt to correct the carpet or screen problems even though they have been contacted by a local housing program. The housing program said the carpet and screen problems are health violations, is this true? Do I have any legal rights to either withhold rent, force the landlord to make the repairs, or terminate the lease?
 


D

deweydecimal

Guest
Such minor problems and you want to withold the rent.

First go to Home Depot and get Goo Gone, and use it on the gum spots it will dissolve them...about $5,

Second go to Home Depot and buy your own window screens that pull sideways to fit any size window. cost abut $3-5 each

Third go to Home Depot and buy some good fans or an air conditioner.

Forth go to Home Depot and buy a steam cleaner, Hoover makes a very good one for $200

Renters have to take care of the place and not always blame the landlord.

You should own your own AC, steam cleaner, Goo Gone, and a fan and screens..that is your responsibilty as a renter.

Plus if you take pictures of the screens and send the reciept for new ones you could possibly deduct it from the rent.

PS.....dont tell me you aint got no money, you do, you just spend it poorly.
 
Last edited:

JETX

Senior Member
The first question you have to answer is..... do you have a WRITTEN lease showing a specific period of tenancy??? If you don't, you have NO power to force repairs and need to give your 30 day notice and find somewhere else to live. Or the landlord will 'notify' you when you complain.

However, if you do have a written lease, the following applies:
Wisconsin Statute:
"704.07(2) Duty of landlord.
(a) Unless the repair was made necessary by the negligence or improper use of the premises by the tenant, the landlord is under duty to:
1. Keep in reasonable state of repair portions of the premises over which the landlord maintains control;

2. Keep in a reasonable state of repair all equipment under the landlord's control necessary to supply services which the landlord has expressly or impliedly agreed to furnish to the tenant, such as heat, water, elevator or air conditioning;
3. Make all necessary structural repairs;
4. Except for residential premises subject to a local housing code, repair or replace any plumbing, electrical wiring, machinery or equipment furnished with the premises and no longer in reasonable working condition, except as provided in sub. (3) (b).
5. For a residential tenancy, comply with a local housing code applicable to the premises.
(b) If the premises are part of a building, other parts of which are occupied by one or more other tenants, negligence or improper use by one tenant does not relieve the landlord from the landlord's duty as to the other tenants to make repairs as provided in par. (a).
(c) If the premises are damaged by fire, water or other casualty, not the result of the negligence or intentional act of the landlord, this subsection is inapplicable and either sub. (3) or (4) governs."

And, here is the key to your problem:
"704.07(4)
(4) Untenantability. If the premises become untenantable because of damage by fire, water or other casualty or because of any condition hazardous to health, or if there is a substantial violation of sub. (2) materially affecting the health or safety of the tenant, the tenant may remove from the premises unless the landlord proceeds promptly to repair or rebuild or eliminate the health hazard or the substantial violation of sub. (2) materially affecting the health or safety of the tenant; or the tenant may remove if the inconvenience to the tenant by reason of the nature and period of repair, rebuilding or elimination would impose undue hardship on the tenant. If the tenant remains in possession, rent abates to the extent the tenant is deprived of the full normal use of the premises. This section does not authorize rent to be withheld in full, if the tenant remains in possession. If the tenant justifiably moves out under this subsection, the tenant is not liable for rent after the premises become untenantable and the landlord must repay any rent paid in advance apportioned to the period after the premises become untenantable. This subsection is inapplicable if the damage or condition is caused by negligence or improper use by the tenant."

"704.21(2)
(2) Notice by tenant. Notice by the tenant or a person in the tenant's behalf must be given under this chapter by one of the following methods:
(a) By giving a copy of the notice personally to the landlord or to any person who has been receiving rent or managing the property as the landlord's agent, or by leaving a copy at the landlord's usual place of abode in the presence of some competent member of the landlord's family at least 14 years of age, who is informed of the contents of the notice;
(b) By giving a copy of the notice personally to a competent person apparently in charge of the landlord's regular place of business or the place where the rent is payable;
(c) By mailing a copy by registered or certified mail to the landlord at the landlord's last-known address or to the person who has been receiving rent or managing the property as the landlord's agent at that person's last-known address;
By serving the landlord as prescribed in s. 801.11 for the service of a summons."
Source for the above: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/Statutes.html

From the above, we can see that the landlord clearly has a legal obligation to provide a habitable property, that you need to give the landlord notice and that if the landlord still fails to repair the problem, you have the right to terminate your lease (move) or to stop paying a PORTION of your rent until the damage is repaired.

So, send your landlord a letter detailing the problems and notify him that you will be withholding part ($100???) of your rent until the problem is repaired. Further, that if the property isn't repaired within a reasonable time (7 days??), you will terminate your lease and find other housing..... ALL in accordance with the Wisconsin Statutes.
 

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