Post # 1
So to give some background, we ended up moving into our current apartment in late September. It is a basement apartment located in our landlord’s house. We are having MAJOR issues with our apartment. We realize now that we made a huge mistake by moving into this apartment. We initially thought it would be a good fit because it seemed like a good price because what we pay every month includes utilities. Our landlord also said that he didn’t care if we signed a lease (I know now, major red flag) and my husband is actively job searching out of state and we didn’t have to sign a lease, which seemed perfect at the time.
However, we soon realized that our landlord doesn’t have this place registered with the local housing authority as rental unit. We had to beg him to provide us with a smoke alarm (we would’ve bought one ourselves but every day we asked him he claimed to be just about to go and get one). We also have needed some important repairs that either were never done or done extremely late (plumbing above us caused our bathroom ceiling to sag and nearly collapse.) Other things he has promised to do but never delivered: clearing us out storage space, providing us with our own wireless router, fixing closet doors, etc.
The WORST part is that our heating doesn’t work at all. Our landlord gave us a space heater, and seems to think that is the extent of his responsibility. It is 60 degrees or less in here (I don’t think the thermostat is accurate) and that is WITH the space heater. He claims a technician looked at the heater for the whole house (it is oil, baseboard heater) and says the technician says that it seems to be working fine. (Who knows if that is true or ever happened.) I HATE space heaters because I know they have a fire risk, and I don’t feel comfortable leaving them plugged on at night/when we are away. However, we have to have the heater on at night or we would freeze, and I worry about not having it on when we aren’t here because we have two cats that could catch colds.
So we really don’t know what to do. We don’t want to move out because we do really want to move out of state soon and hope it will happen soon. Is there any legal action we can take against the landlord….? Any advice would be welcomed. I can’t stand the thought of staying in this FREEZING apartment all winter. I also stay at home due to health issues, which makes it all the more concerning to be in this environment.
Post # 3
I think if you try to take any legal action, you will be evicted because technically you’re not supposed to be there… :/
So I don’t know what to tell you! Electric blankets are our winter lifesaver.
Post # 4
@chocolatecoveredstrawberry: which state do you live in? i live in dc and we have a tenant housing authority people can call for advice. you don’t have to say your name, but in a lot of states an oral agreement is a binding contract. they still have to apply law, which should mean access to heat and working appliances.
Post # 5
If you don’t have a lease and it’s not a registered/licensed apartment, you’ve kind of got no legal leverage against the landlord. I’d move out and set aside the new apartment’s lease-breaking fee in case you need to move out of state soon.
Post # 6
@chocolatecoveredstrawberry: I know this doesn’t really solve your problem, but the apartment I live in doesn’t have heat so I use a space heater. I got it from Lowe’s about 2 years ago for a little less than $50. The brand is Lasko. It has a thermostat feature to where you can set it at whatever temperature you want. It also automatically shuts off if it falls over, which makes it less of a fire hazard. I leave it on in my bedroom at night and I have never had any issues. The only thing I don’t do is leave it on when I am not there. It really has been a lifesaver. I only have one, so I just cart it around with me from room to room.
Post # 7
We live far up in Canada and I have similar problems but my apartment is “legal”. We are also month to month tenants and the place is falling apart around us (we already know he’ll keep out security deposit for repairs that should’ve been done before we moved in)…
But the entire building (5 units on 3 levels) is controlled by one heater – which doesn’t blow any air into our apartment. We’ve complained left and right and were basically told if we don’t like it to just move. And as we could never find a cheap apartment with everything included we have stayed.
Tonight for example it is below -30C and we have no heating system but a couple small space heaters – drafts are coming around the door… awful stuff. Our first trick is to stay bundled up with fuzzy socks and slippers on top, thick pj’s, the occasional pair of mittens. It typically gets warmer once we are in here moving around. To get a shot of heat we’ll turn the shower on max heat and let it go for about 20 minutes. By then the apartment is toasty because it is so small and it lasts a few hours. We also have space heaters that we keep on the lowest setting at night and not on at all when we leave.
When it is just me at home I’ll put a couple pots of water on to boil and turn the stove on and just stand near the stove.
If he won’t fix our heat we just will run up the bills to heat the place ourselves.
Post # 8
It honestly sounds like your best option is to move out. Could you find a place to sub-let for a while? It sucks, but without a lease you can’t hold him to anything– the flip-side being that he can’t hold YOU to staying.