Can I sue my landlord for not following through with their repair responsibilities?

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Can I sue my landlord for not following through with their repair responsibilities?

I have had several issues with my current landlord and want to know if legally I can do anything. Landlord has threatened to shut off utilities and come into my apartment and rip faucets from the sinks. She has insulted me personally. She has done nothing regarding repair requests. She won’t even allow us to have a smoke detector.

Asked on June 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) Ignore the insults--they are completely irrelevant.

2) If a landlord won't make repairs which affect either the habitability or the use of the premises, then the landlord may be in breah of the implied warranty of habitability (a term added to all leases, that the premises must be usable for their intended purpose), which could give you grounds to sue for  compensation or to force her to make the repair. Or if she is not repairing anything which is in your lease (e.g. the lease says air conditioning; but the air conditioner doesn't work), that would be a breach of the lease, and give you grounds to take legal action.

However, very minor repairs may not be actionable--e.g. there's door missing to a kitchen cabinet; a slow drip to a sink; etc.

3) A landlord may NOT shut off a tenant's utilities.

4) Check you local bulding, etc. codes; the landlord may have to put in a smoke detector.


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