if my dryer has been broken since we moved in 9 months ago, what can we do?

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if my dryer has been broken since we moved in 9 months ago, what can we do?

The management company tries to fix but in never succeeds; it also wants to raise our rent 8.3%, for the new term. So not only do they want to raise our rent but we have never had a dryer that works properly. It is cheaper for us to stay, rather than move. What are our rights and what can we do?

Asked on May 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

And a dryer is part of the services provided in the lease agreement, correct?  Let's deal with that first.  If the services are not being provided then it could be considered weither a brech of contract or a breach of the warranty of habitability. You can make an agreement with them to have you fix or replace it and deduct the amount from the rent (get that in writing) or go to court and ask the court and start a proceeding that allows you to pay the rent in to court until the matter is fixed.  Ask for a reduction (abatement) of the rent for the time it has not really worked. As for the increase, look at the lease and see if it limits the amount of an increase of negotiate that as well.  You need to be diplomatic here with everything.  Good luck. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you supposed to have a dryer--either it is in your lease, or it was at least in how the property was described to you, and therefore was part of why you rented it (and presumably, the amount of rent you pay is based at least in part  on having a dryer)--you could sue the landlord and/or the management company if they will not fix it. You would sue for breach of contract, since they are not providing what you are paying for; you could seek a court order forcing them to fix it and/or compensation for the time period during which it has been unavailable (for example, if you had to pay more to do the laundry outside, at a laundramat, for that increased cost). Unfortunately, a lawsuit is the only way to force the landlord to either address the situation or compensate you, if the landord will not do so voluntarily.

The landlord may raise your rent for a new term, even if you did not have a working dryer, unless your unit is subject to rent control ordinances of some sort; if it was, the landlord may only raise your rent in accordance with those ordinances.


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