poor property managers

27 Replies

Hello everyone, 

Im posting this question from a renters view. 

So i just moved into my current residence march 30th. Since then i have had three floods. One in the laundry room and the others in the bathroom. Actually my bathroom is currently flooded and i cant do anything about it. I called the maintainence emergency number and they sent roto roofers to my home, had them check things and said somone will be out tomorrow morning. Its been flooded with poop in my shower stall all weekend. When the bathroom flooded the carpet got wet so there is poop water on the carpet. I actually live down in the basement as well as my two year old. I dont want to live here anymore because the property managers are not doing anything about it. This has happened twice and they said they will have to come back and never gave me a date or anything. What are my options of  leaving and taking my deposit? What are my next steps if the do not fix the issue? Any suggestions on fixing the issue?  The yard is also flooded all the time with sewage and there are black ants everywhere. And ontop of all of that the washing machine drain is jacked up and the brand new mixrowave is not working right. Anyway enough of my rant. 

So if you had a property with these issues on a constant basis what would you do? 

@Shaniqua Dupree
That's very unfortunate. I would be there in 5 minutes if that was one of my properties. That being said, if you aren't exaggerating, and there really is poop in your house. I'd call them and say they need to put you up in a hotel and if issues aren't fixed in 48 hours you are calling the board of health. If they refuse call board of health and mayor's action line.

First, I'm a Baltimore landlord many times over, so you're talking to the right person.

Second, that's gross. option 1 is you leave the house. nobody can stop you from leaving. Your deposit is another story however, and will be more difficult to get. You're going to have to get very familiar with the district court system to make this happen.

step 1, inform landlord rent escrow will be filed unless problem is handled immediately. step 2, should problem not be handled, (you must allow landlord reasonable time to rectify problem) go downtown to district court on Fayette. file rent escrow request, pay fee.

step 3, be at property to allow inspector in, then show up to rent escrow hearing WITH RENT DUE PREPARED TO PAY INTO COURT ESCROW ACCOUNT (case can be dismissed without it)

go through process, should problem not be rectified, request lease termination.

good luck

p.s. if house is not sanitary, leave immediately, bring bills to court.

As a landlord I've had to deal with a backed up sewer line on the weekend. When the the plumber said he couldn't fix it until the next day I immediately booked hotel rooms for the tenants in all of the affected apartments!

It actually took 2 days and the hotel was money well spent.

[email protected] | 5082083024

The interesting thing about this is that they knew it was like this before i moved in. When i was viewing the home it was old dirty sewage in the shower stall. I didnt think anything of it. Im really new to the rental game. I have only rented one other place that was not through the military. 

thanks everyone for the advice. I really do appreciate it. I ha e always felt like leasing a house would be the hardest thing to get out of if things go bad or i would have to just deal with what i get if it doesnt get fixed. 

First, get yourself and your son out there today!  Save all bills related to having to evacuate the premises. 

Second, you may have a better chance at getting your deposit returned if you state in writing that the reason for breaking the lease is "constructive eviction".  I am a landlord and I can tell you that I am obligated to maintain "health and safety" standards that meet state requirements.  I would imagine this is the case in most states. There are many laws in place to protect tenants.  I would recommend you consult al real estate attorney. 

  1. Constructive eviction is a term used in the law of real property to describe a circumstance in which a landlord either does something or fails to do something that he has a legal duty to provide (e.g. the landlord refuses to provide heat or water to the apartment), rendering the property uninhabitable.

Sewage in shower and in main living areas renders the property "uninhabitable". I hope this is helpful to you.

If you have renter's insurance, it should pay to put you up in a hotel.  If you don't have it, get it.  It's only around $15/month.  Make sure it has a clause where the insurance will pay for your displacement costs (hotel, etc.) if you have to move out temporarily.  I have this in my renter's insurance, up to $3,000, and my renter's insurance is only $15/month.  

Otherwise, if you can afford to move into a hotel temporarily, do so, and inform the landlord you expect him to pay for it until you and your child can live in place that is not flooded with sewage (and use those words).  

Take photos.

Generally, if the issue is a habitability issue, the landlord has to fix it asap.  If he gets it fixed in a couple days, that would probably be fast enough according to the courts.  Especially if he could show he couldn't get anyone out to fix it for a couple days.  But, the court might make him pay for your hotel room.  

To get your deposit back, you'll probably have to do it right - tell the landlord about the problem, give him the appropriate time to fix it, etc., before you can terminate the lease without penalty.    Here's the link to the laws that were mentioned by someone else above:

http://www.peoples-law.org/special-landlord-tenant...

Originally posted by @Sue K. :

If you have renter's insurance, it should pay to put you up in a hotel.  If you don't have it, get it.  It's only around $15/month.  Make sure it has a clause where the insurance will pay for your displacement costs (hotel, etc.) if you have to move out temporarily.  I have this in my renter's insurance, up to $3,000, and my renter's insurance is only $15/month.  

Otherwise, if you can afford to move into a hotel temporarily, do so, and inform the landlord you expect him to pay for it until you and your child can live in place that is not flooded with sewage (and use those words).  

Take photos.

Generally, if the issue is a habitability issue, the landlord has to fix it asap.  If he gets it fixed in a couple days, that would probably be fast enough according to the courts.  Especially if he could show he couldn't get anyone out to fix it for a couple days.  But, the court might make him pay for your hotel room.  

To get your deposit back, you'll probably have to do it right - tell the landlord about the problem, give him the appropriate time to fix it, etc., before you can terminate the lease without penalty.    Here's the link to the laws that were mentioned by someone else above:

http://www.peoples-law.org/special-landlord-tenant...

 Yes i have renters insurance. I will definitely call my insurance company asap. The property has been like this for a week. It flooded before i moved in because i saw the same stuff in the tub when i first viewed the property, not thinking anything of it because she said the maintenance men just made a little mess. The property manager said somone will clean it out and thats after i moved in. That in itself violates the housing sanitation laws for tenants according to my local laws (I just read it). And speaking of fixing it, roto roofers was just out here today and was told that they were told not to fix it and someone would be here tomorrow morning. I understand that it may be expensive but why would you allow your tenant and family to live like this. Just fix it already. If i have to take this to court i am not going to be fun to deal with. I always do my part and ask the right questions in order to be  respectful of this property and i always will but if i have to sue i am not going to hesitate to have them pay for everything they have damaged since this issue has started. When i moved in i even asked what color are the walls so that i can paint them back after i paint it. She couldn't tell me but i am just trying to live peacefully and raise my son and take careof my family with little issues. 

Originally posted by @Shaniqua Dupree :

 Yes i have renters insurance. I will definitely call my insurance company asap. The property has been like this for a week. It flooded before i moved in because i saw the same stuff in the tub when i first viewed the property, not thinking anything of it because she said the maintenance men just made a little mess. The property manager said somone will clean it out and thats after i moved in. That in itself violates the housing sanitation laws for tenants according to my local laws (I just read it). And speaking of fixing it, roto roofers was just out here today and was told that they were told not to fix it and someone would be here tomorrow morning. I understand that it may be expensive but why would you allow your tenant and family to live like this. Just fix it already. If i have to take this to court i am not going to be fun to deal with. I always do my part and ask the right questions in order to be  respectful of this property and i always will but if i have to sue i am not going to hesitate to have them pay for everything they have damaged since this issue has started. When i moved in i even asked what color are the walls so that i can paint them back after i paint it. She couldn't tell me but i am just trying to live peacefully and raise my son and take careof my family with little issues. 

 Maybe your insurance company will sue him, to recover what they have to pay you.  Yay! I'm glad you have insurance.  

I found this website, which I thought you'd enjoy.  It's a place to talk about the slumlords in Baltimore:

https://slumlordwatch.wordpress.com/

would anyone know if its best to get an attorney if I plan to sue my landlord or just go to court with supporting documents? I feel like i have no reason to lie and the proof is there. Also i want to sue for 1st months rent and my security deposit as well as moving costs,hotel fees, and items affected. How exactly do i prove that i need over $5000 in claims? 

Originally posted by @Shaniqua Dupree :

would anyone know if its best to get an attorney if I plan to sue my landlord or just go to court with supporting documents? I feel like i have no reason to lie and the proof is there. Also i want to sue for 1st months rent and my security deposit as well as moving costs,hotel fees, and items affected. How exactly do i prove that i need over $5000 in claims? 

 Yes, small claims court is great, in my experience.  If you want to, you can pay a lawyer to help you prepare for court.  But, even if you just show up to court with copies of your lease, photos, copies of emails and letters, or a typed list of dates you called for help, what happened when Roto Rooter showed up, etc., you can just let the judge sort it out.

Normally, you have to first have asked for what you want from your landlord.  So, write him a letter demanding what you want by a certain date.  When he doesn't do it, then file your small claims court case.

On your claim form, put the total of everything you want (you don't have to be correct), and write "plus court costs and any punitive damages the court finds appropriate."

If you can find a copy of the appropriate laws for your state regarding maintenance and habitability, and security deposit laws, print those out and turn them over to the judge, too.

This is what I would do:

Be short and succinct in court.  "Your honor, I rented from this landlord, and immediately had problems with sewage backing up and flooding my apartment.  It was dirty when I first looked at the apartment with what I now believe to have been sewage that backed up in the shower, and I was told it would be cleaned. I believe this shows that the landlord knew he was renting a unit to me with a sewage overflow problem, which is unhealthy for myself and my child.  I believe it would be fair to reimburse me all of the rent I paid, since it was not habitable with this sewage problem.  I also believe I should be awarded punitive damages, since I believe the landlord knew this unit was not habitable.  I was not sure what I should ask for, so I included everything I could think of, and I will just trust your judgment, your honor, to award me what is fair."

Then just be quiet.  Don't argue.  Wait to see if the judge asks you any specific questions, then wait for the decision, which is usually mailed to you (at least here in CA they don't decide right there and then).

In the meantime, if your court date won't be soon, you could follow the other procedure for paying your rent to the ....I'm forgetting the term ... the court that handles these situations, that was explained in an earlier link.  It's done differently here in CA, so I don't know that process, but you would have that option, apparently.

Good luck.  Judges are not stupid people.  If you just put yourself at their mercy and come across as sane and respectful, you can trust them to be fair, in my experience.

ok great. Thank you for all of your help.

so my property manager says that my issues will not hold up in court because the house was vacant and they could not know the severity of the sewage issue. They knew there was an issue just didn't know how severe. So now that im in there as there ginea pig they want to say well it was just renovated and vacant for a while. What does that have to do with me? I believe that if you knew there was an issue period you make sure there were no problems not just be ok with the drain just being clear. On three different occasions someone came to clear the lines. Seriously wouldn't you think there would be a bigger issue? #END RANT# Question: I know im not over exaggerating. I mean maybe the entire carpet is not wet but a quarter is. That quarter of the carpet had raw sewage on it not tap water. My son and i live there, sleep there, play there(my insurance is paying for my hotel stay). Im just at a loss. What do you think the outcome will be at court? 

you're not going to get any money in court that you're not entitled to.

1. you need to file for rent escrow in district court, if you leave the house without doing so, your landlord will argue that you have broken your lease. you have signed an agreement and until it is terminated by the court, you still have it. further, if your landlord solves this issue, you will not necessarily be able to break the lease.

2. the only compensation you will be granted potentially in court is a. court costs b. hotel costs c. reduction in rent owed (could be reduced to nothing until problem is rectified).....if problem is not rectified, lease will be terminated by court.  

Seth Sherman im filing on a breach of contract case not them not fixing the issue. According to Baltimore city code lanlords are not allowed to put a tenant in a unfit to live home. I have 30 days from my move in date to take action against them. I have a copy of the baltimore city code that ill attach.

Originally posted by @Shaniqua Dupree :

so my property manager says that my issues will not hold up in court because the house was vacant and they could not know the severity of the sewage issue. They knew there was an issue just didn't know how severe. So now that im in there as there ginea pig they want to say well it was just renovated and vacant for a while. What does that have to do with me? I believe that if you knew there was an issue period you make sure there were no problems not just be ok with the drain just being clear. On three different occasions someone came to clear the lines. Seriously wouldn't you think there would be a bigger issue? #END RANT# Question: I know im not over exaggerating. I mean maybe the entire carpet is not wet but a quarter is. That quarter of the carpet had raw sewage on it not tap water. My son and i live there, sleep there, play there(my insurance is paying for my hotel stay). Im just at a loss. What do you think the outcome will be at court? 

 So I live in NC, not MD, but I can tell you this is garbage. The house I'm currently renting was empty for TWO years until my landlord's company bought it, renovated it, and rented it. They're in the process of flipping it actually, but the guy buying is very nice, is happy to have tenants already living there, and is willing to address any concerns we have immediately, as is our present landlord. 

Once our landlord's handyman accidentally turned off the wrong water tap outside (the other side of our duplex is empty) and our water didn't work. I called our landlord and boom, five minutes later our water was back on. THAT is how you handle issues from your tenant. 

Your landlord's argument that the house was vacant and therefore they didn't know is crap (both literally and figuratively). If they'd just renovated, they should have seen how bad the sewer blockage was! 

I'd advise you to get anything your landlord says in writing, or at least write down everything he says over the phone, in case the judge needs or asks for it. 

Raw sewage on the floor (ugh that sounds disgusting, I'm trying not to think about it) makes a home unlivable immediately. That alone should put the judge on your side. I'd definitely take the advice of the other posters and present your documents and speech to the judge and just let them make the call. Hopefully they should be fair. 

Have you taken pictures of the damage? 

thia is what over flowed onto the carpet outside of the bathroom. Very disgusting poop and water.

@Shaniqua Dupree I had to laugh that your manager says you don't have a case to sue them - of course they'd say that LOL. 

You look really well-prepared.  Well done!  Just follow the procedures, and ask for punitive damages, too, and your court costs to be paid by the slumlord.  You might not get everything you want, but always ask for everything you can think of.  You'll get something, I feel sure of it.

Good for you for standing up for yourself and your child.

Thank you. They must be inexperienced. I go to the house today and see that they went in and ripped up the carpet and moved my belongings without telling me. They originally said that there was no need To replace the carpet.

Thank you. They must be inexperienced. I go to the house today and see that they went in and ripped up the carpet and moved my belongings without telling me. They originally said that there was no need To replace the carpet.

Oh my God that's disgusting. You definitely have a case. Just follow the advice of the other posters on what to say to the judge and bring your documents. Good luck!

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