If I rent an apartment and it turns out the landlord never received a building or occupancy permit, does he have to pay me back the money I’ve already paid?

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If I rent an apartment and it turns out the landlord never received a building or occupancy permit, does he have to pay me back the money I’ve already paid?

I recently rented an apartment and the electric company told me I cannot pay for electric because I’m on a joint meter. I called the landlord and figured he would take care of it. Turns out he didn’t and came up to me when he turned my A/C on and told me I have to pay him cash to make up the difference. I called the building inspector and the landlord never received permits to make my building a residential apartment and it is still zoned as commerical. Can I get him to give me the money I have paid him to help with moving into a new apartment?

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states, the consumer protection agency who handles landlord tenant matters can help you. It can be HUD (Housing and Urban Development) or the Attorney General. Generally in states that have consumer protection laws regarding such matters, yes the landlord would have to pay you to move and have to give you back your security deposit back. You may not get back the rent money per se but you should be entitled to monies to relocate to a legal apartment building.


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