code/permit violations at rental (Pittsburgh, Erie: renter, how much, attorney)
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I am renting a house in Pittsburgh. I recently learned that the landlord rehabbed it himself (he's not licensed by Pittsburgh or PA to do this), with no permits and no inspections - new wiring, kitchen, bathroom, and many other things. The City is aware of at least some of the violations (and obviously, they would know that no permits were given and no inspections done).
Does anyone have experience with this, or knowledge of whatever bureaucratic/health dept. process follows? I am wondering how long they give an owner (in this case, the landlord) to correct the problems. Does the owner have to uninstall everything he put in without a permit? Are there any fines involved (and if so, approximately how much might these be?)?
Obviously, I will be learning about and asserting whatever rights I have as a tenant (and getting a new home!). I have been advised by an attorney concerning my rights thus far.
I don't know how long the City has known about the situation, or where in the process of fighting it my landlord is. I don't know how long he has to correct the violations. So I would appreciate hearing anyone's experiences with such a situation. I have a feeling I may learn a lot from your comments, so I am really wondering what you all have to say. This kind of thing is completely new to me! Thank you very much!
As I already said, an unauthorized individual rehabbed the entire house (new furnace, new electrical, added gas connections), all with no permits, and none of it has ever been inspected by the City! FIre code violations, health code violations - yeah, the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and the State of PA consider this to be a "big deal."
To answer your question regarding whether or not it's livable, according to the City, no, it's not "fit for habitation."
Please, I am only looking for information from people who at least know that there are such things as permits and inspections that are required by law.
I've been a landlord for over 20 years, so I have a little bit of knowledge about these things. If indeed, he had no permits, you have a case. If you fear for your safety, best to move now and sue. Just make sure to document everything.
Thank you. I am looking to move out ASAP, and will likely sue, documenting everything along the way.
No, there definitely were no permits or inspections. I just found out about all this 2 days ago, so I haven't yet found another place to live, packed all my things, and moved into another place. Perhaps the City will force me out any second now, I have absolutely no idea whatsoever how that works. Everything functions fine in the house, IN MY OPINION, and it LOOKS fine to me, but I don't work with electrical or construction or anything like that. According to the City, it's not up to code, and no permits, no inspections, fire hazards, etc. I just haven't found out yet if/when I will be forced out onto the street by the City Health Dept. or whoever makes does that.
So again, anyone with experience with such a fiasco, I'd love to hear it. I'm new at this and could benefit from reading what folks have to say (in addition to speaking to the lawyer, of course).
If it is his house and you are renting and you were not satisfied when you first looked at it - then you should not have signed the lease.
If now you are trying to get out of the lease and your reason for wanting out of the lease is because he rehab'd his own house and rented it to you - then the problem probably isn't that the house has been renovated without a permit - but that you want to leave and wants your money back.
I have about 20+ years of construction experience and I can pretty much fix or build anything and a building permit would not change the way I build a house - not one Iota.
As a matter of fact, anything that I build - from a dog house to a mansion - is beyond minimum code - because minimum code sucks.
So what I wonder - is what kind of degree do you have in engineering and what makes you think that you are qualified to say what is livable and what is not?
If you are not happy - then move - but don't go turning the guy in - unless the improvements he did was worse then what was there before the reno.
I built a deck last summer that was not to code - where the home owner decided to be the contractor. That had no construction experience or background and tried to tell me what to do and to cut corners and to cheat on the design so as to save money and time and get it done as quick as possible - so as to get around the building codes and inspections.
In the end, I not only got fired, but I didn't get paid either.
so once a cheater - always a cheater.
I figure I lost about $1000 in my time and my tools and equipment that were damaged or lost or broken beyond repair.
I finally put my shop back in order about a month ago - 4 months after I left the job.
As a matter of fact, I turned her in and as far as I know, the city of Erie did nothing about it.
A existing structure, a couple of sheets of drywall and some new wiring.
As long as he used arc fault breakers in the bed rooms and a GFI breaker for the outlets and did not over load the load center - I doubt if they will do anything about it.
I am not aware that you need a permit to replace a furnace or a kitchen or bathroom - probably doesn't need a permit anyways...
Again - it sounds as if you are just trying to get out of the lease...
Honest Bob, you've got my post completely wrong. My lease is up, the City of Pittsburgh says that the home is uninhabitable and that NO TENANT (not me or anyone else) can live here, period. I don't know if that means they will kick me out tomorrow, or one week from now, or in 1 month, or if they're just going to fine the heck out of my landlord.
That is great that you can fix/build things. If you rewire a house, you still need a permit and an inspection. None of the work has any permits or inspections. This is not my opinion. This is what the Bureau of Building Inspection says. Congratulations, you say you can build a mansion - go ahead and build that mansion with no permits, get nothing inspected, and don't complain when the City finds out and makes you gut it, because that is what will happen when the City eventually finds out.
When I moved in over 4 years ago, I had no idea everything wasn't legitimate. I did not know that the City of Pittsburgh, the Health Dept., and Bureau of Building Inspection would now be saying that the place is "uninhabitable" (their word, not mine), and that no one is allowed to live in the house. And, before you say I "should have known," that is not what the law says; it is not up to a renter to investigate permits, inspections, etc. before signing a lease.
If your lease is up, move, stop caring. Why do you have to ruin someone on top of that? You're being needlessly vindictive.
Very well said. The guy fixed a home up. That is better than being a slum lord. Let him alone and move. If you don't want to move, then don't. They need a court order to remove you. You will have time to find a new place. If you don't want to deal with all this, just move.
Another reason to not live in the city... too many permits for too many things and most times, it is just a money grab. Yes, some things need permits due to safety but most cities go WAY overboard on things, especially with the UCC being implemented in many places. I can do plenty of work myself and so can my dad and we won't be getting any stinkin' permits, but then again, we don't live in the city of PGH so we don't have to worry about it.
So, you lived there for 4 years and all of a sudden, the city is saying it is uninhabitable??? hmm....
Seems more than habitable for the 4 years you have lived there, no? Why the change of heart? What are the EXACT violations the city is stating there are? Could the code have changed from 4 years ago to now and the new rules are more stringent than when you first moved in?
What, he only has two smoke/CO alarms and new code requires 3 or 4? Was the electrical installed incorrectly? Was the plumbing done incorrectly? Was the gas lines installed incorrectly? Is the gas meter inside instead of out?
Yeah, my brother recently found out that if you have an older house in the city that has the meter inside, if you do any gas line work, you also need to pay to have the meter moved outside at that time.
So what are you suing for, all your rent back? My advice, get over it and move on and let the landlord deal with his own issues. You didn't seem to have any problems over the 4 years you lived there or you would not have lived there that long.
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