Q: I'm a renter in an apartment complex in Havre de Grace Maryland I do not have a working shower or a working kitchen sink
Maintenance Request form was submitted over a week ago via multiple avenues (on-line form, hard copy as well as several follow up calls and no response whatsoever). Please help. I'd like to b showered for the holiday.
A: It’s best to consult legal counsel, because landlord and tenant practice tends to be local, but Maryland law allows tenants to withhold rent and use that rent to repair health issues such as water, heat, and sewage service. You’ve notified. Hire the best licensed plumber in town for emergency services and keep the receipts.
A: The District Court has forms for starting a rent escrow action. A rent escrow action is where a tenant pays their rent into court, and not to the landlord, beause there remain serious unrepaired or unaddressed conditions in the rented premises that make the unit unsafe, unhealthy or unusable. No running water or working faucets or plumbing all affect the health of the occupants and make the premises uninhabitable. The landlord must fix the problems in order to recover the rent from court, and the court will repay the tenant the rent the judge feels rasonable to compensate the tenant for having to live under the conditions prior to their being satisfactorily repaired. Because you are filing the rent escrow action, it is your burden to prove the things you are alleging. Take photographs of the conditions you are complaining about, or take video using your cell phone that shows how the faucets do not work, etc. Document your notices to the landlord requesting the repairs, and bring proof of those reports you made and any response. You may also file a complaint with the local health department and ask for an inspection to document the conditions you are living under. Any report resulting from that inspection would help your case. Nothing motivates a landlord more than not receiving their rent, and having to prove to the court that they restored the premises to a tenantable condition in order to do so. If you are forced to move out temporaily or to a hotel to take a shower, you should request reimbrsement for that expense and present the receipts at the hearing on the rent escrow action.
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