How can we sue a landlord when we have no address to contact her?

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How can we sue a landlord when we have no address to contact her?

I have been renting a house for 11 years; for the first 9, the property we handled by a management company. About 2 years ago the landlord and management company parted ways. The landlord “thinks” we do not have a lease because she ended with the management co. The county still has the company listed in its records. Our heat stopped working 2 months ago and she still has not fixed it, we are at our wits end. She e-mailed us that she doesn’t have the money to replace the HVAC system. This is costing us a fortune in electric bills. We want to sue, but have no way to contact her other than e-mail.

Asked on March 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you can sue. You have identified a practical problem--how do you sue when you don't have the parties address?

There should be someway to contact her: for example, you are presumably paying your rent--to where do you send the rent? That should give you an address; or if you send it to another person, that person should have an address. There has to be some point of contact between you and the landlord, even if indirectly through another party; that should provide a way to reach her. Also, if she is not providing heat, contact your local departement of housing (could be known by a different name)--they may initiate an action against the landlord, which means that now you have the government looking for her, too. Good luck.


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