Q: Can a Landlord ask a tenant to share the cost of water main repair (problem not caused by tenant)?
The water main feed pipe on the landlord's property in Fairfax County, Virginia, failed, leaking water in the yard, and running up the tenant's water bills. The landlord asked the tenant to "share" the cost of the repair. The tenant declined, and within 48 hours the landlord advised that he was going to increase the amount of the security deposit and rent due to "increased maintenance costs". Is this legal?
A: Generally under Virginia law, essential utilities, such as water, and their repairs and maintenance are the obligations of the Landlord. Relation by the Landlord by raising the amount of the security deposit and the monthly rent is clearly a violation of the landlord-tenant laws in Virginia and a breach of the residential lease laws. You may want to seek formal advice of a landlord-tenant attorney.
1 user found this answer helpful
A: Under your facts, no. But be prepared to defend yourself in Court. In fact, that the waterline broke may (POSSIBLY - IT IS BY NO MEANS CERTAIN) entitle you to a credit or refund from the landlord for the excess water bill you had to pay. It's not worth arguing over the refund unless he pushes you on the deposit and share in the costs.
Consulting a lawyer would be a good idea - get one on board now in case the landlord tries something.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.