hello all! quite the doozy for you all today!
my mother in law currently rents a home under section 8. in both my opinion, and her’s, the house should not be passing inspections and the landlord is quite the piece of work. A lot of the time, when the landlord comes to the house, she makes remarks that imply the conditions have something to do with my mother in laws race. there have been SEVERAL issues as far as the living conditions of the home, that were not, and could not have been caused by ANY tenant. it is simply the lack of structural upkeep, which the landlord is responsible for. i will go ahead and get into the specifics below:
1. there is no subfloor throughout the entire house. for context, it is a three bedroom tri-level home. the basement is finished, but alas, no subfloor. it is tile on top of straight concrete and LOTS of grout. the ergonomics of that are absolutely horrible. me, being a 5’3” adult female, should not have to completey bend my body to use the bathroom sink. this has also caused a BUNCH of the cheap tile throughout the home to crack. yes, the tile goes through the entire house, bedrooms and all. the only place that is not tile, is the stairs, which are made of very old wood and cheap carpeting has been NAILED into the steps. these nails continuously come up out of the steps and hurt like hell when you end up stepping on one.
2. in the kitchen, there are several issues. the refrigerator being the largest one. remember how i said there was no subfloor, well under the fridge there is no tile either. the tile was put around the fridge, so you cannot pull the fridge out to properly clean or repair it. this has caused the fridge to work wayyy too hard and now is just not keeping temperature at all. milk has to be kept at the bottom in the veggie/meats drawer in order for it not to spoil on the middle or top shelves. food spoils frequently from the inability to keep things at the proper temperatures. there is so much built up dust and grime but it cannot be cleaned because we are unable to pull the fridge out from the wall. the strip to keep the doors closed is also quite worn (as it is an old fridge) and we cannot shut the door completely either without slamming the crap out of it. and even that doesn’t work some times.
3. there is MAJOR water damage in this house. there is one full bathroom, and 2 half baths. the full bathroom has a tub and shower. the tub, rather than the normal caulking and such (idk im not a contractor) there is PLASTIC WEATHER STRIPPING to “prevent” water from leaking when there is the inevitable wetness. this has caused a nasty leak into a closet downstairs. and the closet its in, is the same closet where the heating unit is. considering that is electrical, i find that extremely concerning. as well as that there must be another leak somewhere in the pipes above the bathroom in the finished basement because there is water damage in the same place that has been “repaired “ 3 times.
4. the units throughout the home are absolutely inadequate for the size of the home and also are very old and outdated. the hvac unit outside is extremely small for the 1,700 sq ft. tri-level. it cannot adequately heat and cool the entire home. the hvac is also outdated, and is probably the same unit that the house was built with, along with the heating system inside.
5. the fence along the back of the house was not structurally sound for a long time, a few pallets were actually missing for quite some time. that has since been replaced but there is still a privacy and security issue of the fence not coming with doors on either side of the house. on the right side it is chicken wire and on the other it is just wide open.
6. the stairs on the inside of the house have railings but one of which is completely broken. this is from it being broken before my mother in law even lived here and it was never repaired correctly. so it has broken more and more and now there is nowhere in that spot for it to go. unless the wall itself is fixed and a new railing is put in. there were also NO railings at all in the front of the home where there are steps. the metal railings were improperly installed and rotted out and fell. now, the replacement, is just a bunch of poorly nailed together 2’4” pieces of wood with lots of nails that are not flush and protruding from the wood, and no sealant, no paint. nothing. just plain old wood that is already starting to rot and fall apart. not to mention it looks absolutely ridiculous.
7. the paint job on the interior of the house is also unacceptable. when the landlord patched the house together to quickly be able to rent or sell, they decided to put painting tape in places where there are presumably cracks or other defects in the ceiling and painted right over the tape. i have noticed this is many many places throughout the home. the tape has now started to fall, causing more of the paint to come off with it as well. under some of the tape in the kitchen there is what looks to be mold, but i haven’t tested it myself yet to find out. this is throughout the home that it was painted like this.
8. the stove in the kitchen is also not working properly. one of the four burners gets wayyy to hot. for example, if i were to set it on 3, it will burn the food or cause smoke. and no not from leaving something on until it does get that bad, it does this as soon as it begins to heat up. you cannot use that burner or you will have burnt food. there is no reason that on one of the lowest settings, the food should burn.
with that said, i do know of instances where the landlord has sent text messages to my mother in law asking for her to sign up for “groupon” and send her some coupons to use on work she was going to do for the house ( to noones surprise, work that was never done) she had made rude and inappropriate comments about the “cleanliness and organization “ of the home regarding to the fact that my mother in law and her family are black. there is nothing unclean about the home besides places that are hard to maintain because of the quality of the home. not to mention there are four people who live here, and there is not enough space. it is not dirty, there is just a lot of stuff, and they do the best they can. disorganization does not mean someone is dirty. my mother in law has also paid for many of the things that needed to be repaired that were not her responsibility. on top of that, the rent has increased substantially. even on section 8 housing. for the quality of the home and the lack of maintenance ever being done, there is no reason to ask for as much as they are.
my questions are:
a. what legally can we do about the current living conditions? can we make the landlord do the repairs necessary? update appliances that just do not work?
b. when the lease is up, she plans to leave and terminate the lease, can she keep the deposit for things such as described above?
c. is the landlord within the requirements? are they allowed to let the house be this way? i feel the inspectors have not done their due diligence and whenever things do actually get done, the landlord hires the cheapest person and gets the cheapest materials.
to note, there is also a 10 year old boy living in the home, and i fear he will be injured or his health will be affected in some way due to the conditions of the home. please help!!!!!
thank you and sorry for the looooong post!!!