General Question

bubu606's avatar

Can a Ohio firehouse or court house withhold the rent when my landlord is breaching the contract?

Asked by bubu606 (10points) December 28th, 2010

I have been having issues with my landlord. She blocked my access to my parking spot in the driveway because she made a rule a couple of weeks ago that during snow no one can park in the driveway, (which I did not agree to and it was not in the lease). Then she turned off the dryer I have in my apartment (it is plugged in in a room that I don’t have access to) because she claimed that since the my dryer and her dryer can’t run at the same time, I can only use it during the weekend now. (In the lease she stated that she is providing a dryer). Recently it’s been snowing around where I live and there was water leaking into my wall, so I called her, but she was obviously out of town so she said the only thing I can do is to put bucket under where it leaks (isn’t this obsurd??!!)

Anyways, now I am looking into a way to get her to fix the problems and possibly get out of the lease, and I want her to take this seriously. I have heard that tenants can take the rent to a firehouse or a court house and they will withhold the rent for the tenants until the landlord fixes the problems.

Any ideas about is? Can I do it? Would it cost me a lot to do it?

Thanks guys!

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11 Answers

Not_the_CIA's avatar

Step one – Relax

Don’t threaten your landlord with legal action until you can move out in 24 hours. Trust me, if they sense you will sue they will kick your ass out really fast. All they have to do is tell the cops they are afraid that you will damage the property and you will get the boot.

Step two – Plan on moving

Step three – See what legal aid has to say. Or there should be some sort of tenets rights group that can help.

Moral of the story is that your landlord sucks and I would start packing.

tedd's avatar

Its breach of contract if she promised you a parking spot, and then later took it away.

Its breach of contract if she offered you drying hook ups and then took them away (turning them off counts).

Its breach of contract if she does not fix repairs within a reasonable amount of time (she may have some argument in this one, pending how long its been leaking).

Despite what not the cia said, she cannot kick you out of your apartment for threatening legal action. Doing so would be INCREDIBLY illegal.

Check your contract to ensure the things were guaranteed to you. If they were, forward a copy of your lease (DO NOT LOSE YOURS) to your land lord and threaten legal action if she does not remedy the situations asap. You will be completely in bounds. Next step would be actually getting a lawyer.

bubu606's avatar

@tedd Yes I was promised a parking spot, a dryer and there’s nothing on the lease about pixing structural leaks, but I suppose that’s what legally a landlord has to do. I have already sent her a complaint with registered mail 10 days ago but I haven’t heard anything back yet (Probably because she’s out of town).

I am supposed to pay rent at the end of this week but I don’t want to give her the money now with all the problems, so do you know anything about sending the rent somewhere and have them withhold it? Because I plan to sue her if she doesn’t fix the problems in a reasonable time but I don’t want her to say that I didn’t pay the rent for this month.

tedd's avatar

I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think you can withhold the rent. That would give her grounds to evict you, even if she hasn’t been holding up her end of the deal to this point. I would send her e-mail, phone call, and official letter outlining your complaints, highlighting the parts of your lease that cover the parking spot, dryer, and timely repairs (your leak would be covered under that), and threaten to pursue legal action if the situations are not fixed as soon as possible. Also request in all correspondence that she contacts you about the issues immediately, and keep a copy of all correspondence. Do not insult her, or threaten to withhold rent or do any property damage of any kind. Pay your rent. If she fails to contact you within a week or so, try calling one last time, then call a lawyer.

bubu606's avatar

@tedd Thank you so much!

marinelife's avatar

Here is the Ohio Landlord-Tenant law. Please read all of it carefully.

“Here is the provision you are thinking about:

” The law allows the tenant to legally withhold rent under certain conditions involving the Court. By depositing rent with the Court, the tenant forces the landlord to take some action to recover rent money. The landlord must repair the conditions and apply to the Court for an order releasing the rent. If the landlord brings legal action, the tenant has the right to defend and sue for damages, but this is not an eviction action.

The tenant should SEEK LEGAL ASSISTANCE to file a claim for rent reduction or for use of the money for repairs. ”

diavolobella's avatar

You cannot withhold the rent. However, the landlord is required to fix the leak. They are required to maintain the premises in a manner that meets building and codes requirements and are required to provide you with “quiet enjoyment” of the premises, which goes beyond meaning it’s a pleasant place. Quiet enjoyment means, among other things, that you don’t have leaks and repairs that must be made. It also means your landlord doesn’t get to arbitrarily be a gigantic tool and withdraw items that you were promised in the lease.

Go talk to an attorney or the local Legal Aid Society immediately. This is exactly the sort of situation I used to deal with on a daily basis when I worked for Legal Aid and they can steer you in the right direction.

diavolobella's avatar

One last thing. Here is a link to a Legal Aid Society brochure about renter’s rights. It is in PDF form. It’s written for Tennessee, but many of the rights mentioned in it apply to all states. It will give you a little more input about what sorts of rights you have as a tenant.

holli's avatar

There is likely an org that deals solely with leasing issues who you can speak with at no charge. I know in Texas we have one. Make sure you have everything documented with dates, times, actions, and your lease agreement. Then talk to them about your issues and your rights as a tennant before you take action.

bkcunningham's avatar

@bubu606 @marinelife gave you the best information. You should have kept a copy of the complaint you sent registered mail. Did your landlord notify you at the time of you signing the lease that they own fewer than three rented dwellings they are leasing?

Read this from the same website marinelife provided and you will understand: If the tenant reasonably believes that the landlord has not fulfilled his duties or that the premises have code violations affecting the health and safety of occupants, the tenant may notify the landlord about the conditions and request that they be corrected. The written notice must be sent to the person or place where the tenant usually pays rent.

If the landlord fails to correct the condition within a reasonable time (30 days maximum, depending upon the urgency of the situation) and if the tenant is not delinquent in rent and if the tenant is not delinquent in rent payments, the tenant may: Deposit all rent with the Clerk of the Municipal or County Court having jurisdiction (There is a $10.00 fee and the court will schedule a hearing with a referee); File a law suit requesting a rent reduction until the necessary repairs are made (and gain Court’s permission to use withheld rent to make repairs); Terminate the lease or rental agreement.


Dutchess_III's avatar

Be prepared to spend $65 in small claims court, and move.

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