How Can This Be Legal?

United States
August 2, 2008 2:47pm CST
I have many aches and pains and bad body parts, from many injuries, over the years. Mainly, work-related injuries. Others are resulting reinjuries from those originals. My latest is my left knee giving out on me about a week ago. It happened at home, so no Worker's Comp. But no income, either, since I'm currently off work, and not sure when I'm supposed to be able to go back. The only income my nearly-9-year-old daughter and I have is the Death Benefits check she gets each month from her late-father, who was killed in an accident when she was two. That income, itself (just over $500) keeps me from qualifying for nearly all government assistance programs. I can only work one job, because of previous injuries, so that only adds about another $500 per month. When I'm working. So, ususally, rent and utilities are covered. And we rely on food banks for most of our food. The only house I could afford was $350 per month. In a slum neighborhood. The house is practically falling apart, and most people say it isn't even worth the $350/ month. When something happens, the landlord won't fix it. "Not for $350 a month," is his usual response. Since the central air unit was stolen the day I moved into the house, I had to provide my own air conditioners. Low-quality Wal-Mart specials. When I asked my landlord about replacing the coil in the central A/C unit, "Not for $350 a month." The back two rooms--my bedroom and a small extra room--have no working electrical outlets, and the ceiling fan and light don't work. I asked the landlord if it was possible for him to fix them, since that was the way it was when I moved in: "Not for $350 a month." Part of the ceiling in my bedroom fell in, because of years of neglect, to the point where I can see up into the attic. I asked the landlord about that: "Not for $350 a month." No appliances were provided ("Not for $350 a month.), so we lived here the first two months with no stove or refrigerator. Until a friend gave me one from a friends' renthouse. Still no stove, though. I've searched, since I moved in here, and can find nothing else that I can afford. Yet I don't qualify for assistance. All the small things (like rewiring the dining room to put in the second a/c unit) was done by my ex-husband (divorced before I got involved with my daughter's father). No compensation from the landlord, for him doing what the landlord should have done. "Not for $350 a month." When my knee gave out on me a week ago, I had to pay for the doctor's visit, myself. Guess where the money had to come from? Yep, out of my rent money. Yet, if I don't pay the remainder of the rent, within two weeks, I'll be evicted. Doesn't matter what my circumstances are. Doesn't matter all that I've put up with, having to live in this crappy house. Doesn't matter that I've been short every month on other bills, because I'm having to fix things or pay my ex to fix things the landlord's supposed to be doing. None of tha matters "Not for $350 a month." Is this even legal? How can anyone be this cold and crass? I had a landlord, last year, that was on the ball with every problem I had with that house. And I paid $350 a month for THAT one! If I could afford to move, I'd certainly be looking up my former landlord. But, in my current condition, with my finances the way they currently are, I can't move. Nor can I afford to be out on the street. Does anyone have any ideas that might help me? I've already applied to all the people and organizations in my area that usually help in these circumstances. So far, no one's helped.
2 people like this
2 responses
@palonghorn (5485)
• United States
2 Aug 08
Have you bothered contacting the housing authority. The only way you would not have a legitimate complaint is if it stated in your lease agreement what the landlord would and would not do as far as upkeep on the apartment/house. However, most agreements have it stated that any major repairs will be covered by the landlord. And please don't tell me you didn't sign any kind of lease agreement, because that really makes it tough to enforce what he should be doing. Also, if things are not up to code, contact the city/town codes officer, there should be one, if you're not sure, call city hall and ask.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Aug 08
Wow. So simple. The lease states that "The renter is responsible for any damage done to the property, while said renter is living there." So how does one prove these things were here before I moved in? That could be my word against his. This is not government housing. So contacting the housing authority would do no good. I don't qualify for government housing, or any other assistance. I'm one of those "in limbo", too poor to survive, but not poor enough to get help. Since this isn't government housing, it doesn't have to be up-to-code. I just can't understand how he can get away with all of this. I will check with city hall and follow that lead. Thank you for your advice.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Aug 08
You're welcome. And in most cities, a rental property does have to be up to code, so you might check that out and see if that is the case in your town. As for proving that you did not do the damage.....some of that should be clear that you didn't, such as having to have wiring done, having to provide a/c because he wouldn't repair the one there.
• United States
3 Aug 08
I just saw where you live in Texas.........there are city codes, and building codes in almost every city in Texas. I'm originally from there.
@Aurone (4758)
• United States
2 Aug 08
You should definitely be looking into contacting the housing authority on this guy. Secondly, have you looked into HUD housing? They charge you rent based on what you earn. And you should definitely qualify for foodstamps, and some places have reduced energy rates for people of low income. As far as doctor bills and the like go you can get discount cards that can help deflect the cost if you are interested. It charges $10-$15 a month but could help you with dental, doctor and prescription costs. http://www.alliancehealthcard.com/health-clubs/ Good luck.
1 person likes this