Help me please! Is this legal?

  1. Ok ...

    I am writing you from the deep south. I live in a rental home for which I pay $900/month. My air conditioner has been out for 4 days! I contacted my rental company the day it went out, they promised to have a technician come out the next morning. Technician came out, said he wouldn't be able to fix it until Tuesday. So ... here's Tuesday, no call from technician, no call from rental office. DH called rental office 3 times today, all they say is "we haven't heard anything yet". I realize it was a holiday weekend, but I have been without A/C for going on 5 days now! Ironically enough, today is rent due date. I didn't pay today and I have a good mind to withold rent until A/C is fixed. I don't know if this is legal or not. What can I do?? I'm sorry, but I live in Alabama and it is JUNE!


    :angryfire <---- me inside my house, or should I say hell?
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   leslie :-D
    if you signed a contract, then you need to read it and its' terms. if you didn't, then i believe that makes you a tenant at will and would have no protection. good luck to you.
  4. by   laughingfairy
    Even if you are a tenant at will some states have land lord tenant codes that will protect you.

    Where I am they have to weeks after recieving certified mail to correct a problem that makes a dwelling unlivable i.e. flood damage, no water, fire etc.

    If it is cosmetic or aesthetic (and A/c counts) they have 60 days after reciept of letter and if it is not done by then the tenant can break lease or withhold up to $200 from one rent check per occurance to cover expenses that have to have been finished by then....

    Thats why I don't rent anymore. :angryfire
  5. by   sagelola
    Having been through a similar situation myself this is what I can tell you. Unlike a heater, and air conditioner is not "necessary" for living. I live in the arm-pit of California and it gets HOT here, too. I think it is a necessity, but apparently the courts, etc. do not. You can't withhold your rent even if they don't fix it. You can TRY to send them a certified letter requesting they fix the AC in a reasonable amount of time, this way you have PROOF of asking...but, if they don't do it, I don't think you have any recourse.

    The first summer we moved into our apartment, we ran the AC 24/7 and when it was 105 outside it was 98 inside. The AC did nothing. Not to mention, our FIRST MONTH'S electric bill was $336, I kid you not. They would not replace the unit, saying it has worked for 30 years, so there is no reason . Whatever...there was nothing we could do. We have since put in an evaporative cooler (OUR cooler...we paid for it...it is a window unit) to help somewhat, but it still gets really hot in here.

    Good luck to you...I hope you didn't end up with a slum lord like we did! :angryfire
  6. by   NurseforPreggies
    Thank you for your responses. I reread my lease terms. Terms state that landlord must repair or replace A/C if cost is above $100. Does not give any time frame. I rethought the whole not paying rent thing ... figured it wouldn't hurt company and will probably only hurt me. Will pay rent. Still pissed ... any other ideas for a course of action?
  7. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from NurseforPreggies
    Thank you for your responses. I reread my lease terms. Terms state that landlord must repair or replace A/C if cost is above $100. Does not give any time frame. I rethought the whole not paying rent thing ... figured it wouldn't hurt company and will probably only hurt me. Will pay rent. Still pissed ... any other ideas for a course of action?
    yep. you can get the ac fixed yourself, deduct the cost from the rent and give copy of receipt to your landlord.
  8. by   dphrn
    Quote from earle58
    yep. you can get the ac fixed yourself, deduct the cost from the rent and give copy of receipt to your landlord.
    I would be careful doing that. We own a rental home (we have a management company taking care of it), and anything that is not a necessity over $100 must be approved by us (landlords) first.I would be afraid you may not get reimbursed and get penalized for not paying the rent in full.

    Your rental company is not doing a very good job. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that. Do you have the landlord's phone number (owner of the house). I gave my tenants my number in case the management company does not follow through on something...I want to know. After all, I am paying them to take care of those things!

    If my tenant called me and told me they were without air, I would be on the phone in a heart beat with my management company. There is no rule that says you can't call the landlords yourself. Good luck!
    Last edit by dphrn on Jun 1, '04
  9. by   Brownms46
    You know what...I thnk you need to get familiar with the Landlord Tenant Law in your state! earle58 is correct!, and here is the way to do it!

    http://www.alarise.org/ALABAMA%20LAW%20INSTITUTE.pdf You will need a acrobat reader, if you don't have it...let me know. Shame...Shame..Shame
  10. by   NurseforPreggies
    Quote from Brownms46
    You know what...I thnk you need to get familiar with the Landlord Tenant Law in your state! earle58 is correct!, and here is the way to do it!

    http://www.alarise.org/ALABAMA%20LAW%20INSTITUTE.pdf You will need a acrobat reader, if you don't have it...let me know. Shame...Shame..Shame
    LOL, shame shame shame? Thank you very much for this information, this is definitely a good resource to be familiar with. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention, maybe you could have done it in less of a "holier than thou" way. However, thanks again.
  11. by   Havin' A Party!
    Quote from dphrn
    I would be careful doing that. We own a rental home (we have a management company taking care of it), and anything that is not a necessity over $100 must be approved by us (landlords) first.I would be afraid you may not get reimbursed and get penalized for not paying the rent in full...
    Agree with this.

    Think you need to check two things: the terms of the lease and your State law. Do so and you'll find the proper course to take.

    Good luck!
  12. by   dphrn
    Quote from Brownms46
    You know what...I thnk you need to get familiar with the Landlord Tenant Law in your state! earle58 is correct!, and here is the way to do it!

    http://www.alarise.org/ALABAMA%20LAW%20INSTITUTE.pdf You will need a acrobat reader, if you don't have it...let me know. Shame...Shame..Shame
    Nurseforpreggie, I think this post was intended for me. I agree that this is a good resource site but an unkind way to inform. We have had a rental home for six months, and we are learning new things every day. One day we will all be so perfect.
    Last edit by dphrn on Jun 1, '04
  13. by   emmy
    I really sympathise. Went through the same thing myself. Went through the whole winter with no heating and summer with no air conditioner i remember putting cold wet towels on the kids to try and help them sleep, had to go through three tribunals, basically we weren't allowed to stop paying rent, we asked if we could pay rent into a seperate account until it was fixed but no :angryfire Turns out it wasn't our landlords fault but the property management company which have now vanished surprise surprise.

    Good luck with it all, I hope you get it fixed soon
  14. by   IMustBeCrazy
    Article IV - Remedies
    C. Tenants may repair and deduct. If the landlord fails to comply with the rental
    agreement or any of his responsibilities, and the reasonable cost of compliance is
    less than an amount equal to one-half of one-month's rent, the tenant may recover
    damages for the breach or may notify the landlord of his intention to correct the
    condition at the landlord's expense. If the landlord does not comply within seven
    days after being notified in writing or as promptly as conditions require in the
    case of an emergency, the tenant may cause the work to be done and after
    submitting an itemized receipt or bill, deduct from the next due rent the actual and
    reasonable cost not including the tenant's own labor.
    Yup, sounds like it's no problem to repair it providing you serve verifiable notice of your intention and give the 7 days. Good luck!

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