What to do if my landlord refudes to make any repairs around the house?

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What to do if my landlord refudes to make any repairs around the house?

Most recently fixing the A/C unit. On the unit it has a company that has been out before to maintain unit. So I called them to come look at it and advised them she had an account so to call her for billing. Now she wants to call police and file charges on me saying I was fraudulent doing that. What is my recourse and can she do that?

Asked on April 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You did act improperly: you represented to the service company/contractor that  you had authority to speak for the landlord, hire them to do work, and obligate her to pay for the work, none of which authority you actually had. You may want to consider apologizing and reimbursing the landlord for the cost--you had no right to do what you did.

Landlords are obligated to repair conditions which affect "habitability," or the ability to use the premises; they do not have to repair conditions which only affect comfort or aesthetics (how the premises looks), unless obligated to do so specifically by the lease. If you feel that the problems or conditions do affect habitability, then the best thing to do would be to consult with an attorney about the situation, to explore how to best enforce your rights. Potentially, if hababitability is impaired (the "implied warranty of habitability" violated) you could seek monetary compensation, a court order requiring the repair, do the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from rent, or, in extreme cases, terminate the lease and move out. However, if the condition is not actually serious enough to violate the warranty, or you do not provide the landlord with proper notice and a chance to correct it, you can find yourself liable to the landlord, which is why you want an attorney's assistance.


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