What Are My Options??
May 10, 2008 2:51pm CST
I am having a problem and I need to know if anyone out there has any advice for me. This all started over a year ago. My landlord died and left all of her properties and belongings to her 3 older children. I have been paying rent to one of them and asked them about fixing my light in the kitchen and that has been taken care of. The also asked them about fixing the septic which is backing up in the yard. That has not been taken care of yet. I wrote them a letter asking when they were going to have that taken care of, because it is unsafe for my kids to be around. I got a letter back the other day. Here is what it said: I understand your concern about the septic tank, however, we are not going to do anything with it because to fix the problem, it will cost more than the house is worth. Right now we are dealing with som legal issues with my mom's estate. These issues should be settled by the end of May. At that time, we will look into selling the house. We are very interested in selling, and you will be the first person we contact. Thank You My question is what are my options?? I am not in any position financially to be able to go to a real estate agent for help. I am not sure if they are going to offer it to me as a rent to own, or if they are going to go through an agent. I am totally confused right now. I have lived in this house for almost 10 years. I have paid my rent on time every month since I moved in. I am not ready to move and I really like the house, but don't know if I would be qualified by a bank to even get a loan. Has anyone ever been in this situation before?? What can I do?? Any advice would be better than nothing at this time. I look forward to hearing your responses. I am so lost right now. Thank You For Your Time.
• United States
10 May 08
The three children have absolutely NO options, they HAVE to fix the septic tank whether they are planning to sell the property or not. In any state the septic bis a matter of a major health code violation. Your health department would be happy to bring the situation to the attention of the 3 people, and they will insist that the situation be rectified. The septic is something that CANNOT be ignored as it could lead to various diseases for not only you and your children but anyone else in the neighborhood. The liquid from the tank will attract bugs, including mosquitoes, and they will carry the bacteria to neighbors and into your home. Call the health department, anomously, and find out the ins and outs of the situation. Then you can make a decision from there. I had the problem with a place that I lived in up in Montana. Someone had poured plaster down the drain and it plugged up the pipe to the sewer system. The landlord totally ignored me until I called in the health department. We weren't penalized as the reporting party as they kept us anomous. We did finally move after a year because we didn't much care for the house. You cannot live with the sewage seeping into the back yard and it is inconsiderate and self serving for the 3 children to leave you in this position. Money isn't the only thing they need to think about. If they are planning to sell the house they are going to have to make these repairs anyhow. You may also want to write a note to them pointing out the bacterial danger and that no ethical real estate agent will list the house with the septic situation that is existing right now. (I am currently enrolled in a real estate class and that is one of the major things that the instructor pointed out, that major problems like the septic tank backing up into the yard isn't a positive selling point for the property!!)
• United States
10 May 08
You have a couple of options are far as buying the house. I'll address those in a minute. The septic tank is obviously of greater concern at the moment. If you plan on moving and not buying the house: Since they have refused to fix it, and have put that in writing, I would suggest going to your local water and sanitary dept for your city or town(ours are together where I live, but look in the white pages, there is a blue section for govt. agencies in the middle. Look for the sanitation dept. I'm sure they would love to know that your landlords are breaking several laws by not providing proper sanitation to a rental unit. If that doesn't inspire your landlord, to fix it, I would look for a public defender to represent you in court. They are most likely free, it will just be difficult to find one that has time to take your case, so keep looking. You can call your local court to find out how to obtain a list of public defenders that will defend you for free(or for a very nominal fee, it depends on where you live as to what they can/cannot charge.) If you are interested in buying the house: I would not do the above situation, at least until after you have signed some kind of contract on the house. I would make sure to put an addendum in the contract saying that the septic tank must be fixed by them, and you will pay for it through monthly payments rolled into your house payment. For example, they put out the money now(since they will have income from selling the rest of the estate) to fix the septic tank and you will pay them back $20 a month(or whatever you decide) extra included in your house payment for a period of time. If you are concerned about getting a loan, there are many places where you can qualify for a loan. I would first try the local banks, since the larger banks will have lower interest rates and may be able to help out people with lower credit scores(im assuming this is why you said you would have trouble qualifying for a loan). If that doesn't pan out, there are several online banks that specialize in giving homeloans to people who have bad credit or no credit. Just keep in mind to read the entire terms of service for these contracts. Some of them have hefty fees. If you feel that you could work out some kind of payment plan with your landlords, that may be an option. I would consider all other loan options before asking them though. Based on the septic tank, they are going to be even less likely to be respectable once you own the house. If you choose to ask them for a payment plan, I would have it all put in writing. If you cannot afford a lawyer to draw up a legal document for you, they have pre-made ones at Office Max that will stand up in court. You can add an addendum to it as well, so anything not listed in the document can be added at the end. Good luck, if you have other questions or if I forgot some key part, feel free to message me.
• United States
22 May 08
Thank you for your response. Sorry it has taken me so long to reply back. I am looking into a few things right now. I haven't heard anything back from them yet. I am waiting to see how much they are going to want for the house before I decided what I am going to do. I will keep everyone updated.