My Landlord is Trying to Force Us Out. Can She Do That?

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 have been renting a trailer on the landlord’s property for almost four months now. During the first two months, I did not have hot water. I finally took matters into my own hands and purchased the necessary parts to fix the hot water heater. We agreed she would pay me $150 for the price of the materials, my labor and time spent driving 20 miles to get the parts. During this time I also did not have running water for two months due to the fact the well on property is no longer functional. At the time of move in I was under the impression that the place was on city water, and after calling the water department for service they informed me that the landlord opted out of city water and that there was a well somewhere on the property. The landlord subsequently hooked a garden hose to the house and that is how we have water currently. It leaks under the house and causes a horrid smell throughout the house. My girlfriend was pregnant at time of move in and is now due any day. I informed the landlord that she needs to fix the well, which is going to cost over $2000. I’ve also requested she fix the roof. It leaks through the kitchen light, flooding the kitchen and has now warped the floor, causing it to rot. My landlord has decided to put the house up for sale to avoid fixing the problems, and has asked us to move. She sent me a letter and says she is uncomfortable with us staying in the house with the water problem because I’m refuse to pay to have them fixed even though we have a baby on the way. It is my understanding that it is her responsibility, as the landlord, to make sure the property I lease from her is safe and inhabitable. Is it not discriminatory of her to ask me to move because we have a child coming into the home and she doesn’t want to fix a problem? I also believe that I have 30 days to move if she puts the place up for sale, even though I am on month to month basis. She now wants the $150 back for the hot water tank I had to fix, saying she could of had it done for a less money. At the time the best quote I got was for $230, due to the fact that a repair man would have to come to the house. I read in my renters right’s handbook that if she does not fix a problem in a descent amount of time, I can make the repairs myself at a reasonable price. So now she wants to try and evict me on the premise that I owe her $150 for rent even though I prepay my rent and have a signed piece of paper saying that my rent is paid up to date, which was turned into social services just a couple weeks ago. I feel I do not owe her anything. She is just trying every way to keep from having to supply water to the house. I found a new place but can not move in five days, which is when she wants me to move out, even though my rent is not due until five days after that. I would like to avoid a eviction on my record but would also like to know if I have a case.’

Question: Go have a chat with whatever local government agency handles fair housing complaints. If, after reviewing the specifics of your situation, they believe you have a case, they may prosecute it for you.