Can I Sue my Former Landlord For Refusing to Make Repairs on my Old Apartment?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“I’ve lived in a duplex for 10 months now. The issues with the building continued to worsen such as the floors sinking in and have cracked in the laundry room and basement. The main problem was the heating vent in the master bedroom did not work at all. The heating vents in the other rooms of the house were decent, but the master bedroom was freezing cold. We contacted the landlord and he told us if he were to come and fix it that we would be charged $50. Time went by, nothing was fixed. We called him up once again and he then said it was our responsibility to fix the repair. Obviously the heat vent did not work at all when we first moved in. We just didn’t realize it until winter time had come and we clicked on the heat. Nothing was fixed again, He told us we could use a electric heater, which we had no choice, so we used one. That raised our electric bill. We paid and do pay our rent every month! I have all receipts as well. We called the health department and building commissioner on him and they have recorded pictures and written evidence from when they inspected the building. Now the landlord is forced to fix the property but in order to do that we must find a new place to live. Now I am afraid he is going to try to withhold our deposit as well because he made it clear that he was angry that we called the health department and building commissioner on him. Can we file anything against him for refusing to fix anything, especially the heating vent?”

Question: Your rights against your (former?) landlord depend on what state you are living in. If you have such rights, your argument would essentially be that you overpaid your rent: you paid for a building with working heat, and got a less-valuable building with broken heat. I would suggest you invest in a short consultation with a landlord-tenant attorney in your area, to get an idea of what your rights are in this situation. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to proceed with a lawsuit, either with the attorney or in small claims court. Or, if not, at least you get the peace of mind of knowing for sure.