Q: Electrical fire in Apartment Building , Landlord Responsibilities .
I am a tenent in an apartment in Michigan , I moved in about 25 days ago during the first week of November. This past weekend there was a electrical fire in the circuit board for the laundry room. I called 911 and they came in to put out the fire but the entire apartment building consisting of 4 units lost power. The maintenance manager told us to get hotel rooms and that we would be reimbursed 100$ a night for the same. He also promised that power would be back in 2 days. Since then the leasing company has been dodging calls and has not provided any information as to when we could move back into the apartment. They havent even provided any written notice about the fire or compensation to any of the residents yet. What steps can we take as residents to make sure immediate action is taken.
The answer is going to be located in your lease. Without reviewing it in detail it is impossible to say, however, there is likely a section about 'damage or acts of God' or something similar that will define the landlord's and tenant's responsibilities and the impact such damage will have on the lease, if any.
For example, it is common for a lease to say something like 'landlord reserves the right to either repair damage in a reasonable time, and tenant remains responsible for lease payments or he may decline to make repairs, and the tenant and landlord are released from the terms of this lease' etc. It may say nothing, in which case state law that requires the place be maintained in a 'habitable' condition kicks in, and you can break the lease without penalty if the landlord refuses to repair the place in a timely manner. YOU DO HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES however, so I would urge you to consult with a local landlord/tenant attorney to insure you provide the appropriate notices and follow the right steps. If you can't afford an attorney, many law schools have legal clinics that will do a good job on this sort of issue, and you should contact them or your local bar association for a referral.
-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.
I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice
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