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Old 06-19-2012, 09:43 PM
 
5 posts, read 5,480 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello everyone! First time poster here looking for advice on an issue with my apartments A/C.

To start off I live in Texas so some might understand why I care so much about a broken A/C.
On May 8th my Fiance and I noticed that while our thermosdat was set at 80 or apartment was at about 88. We didn't worry to much about it until on the 15th when we had it set at 78 and it was about 92 in the apartment. So we called maintenance to file a work order. They came over on the 21St cleaned the coils and added coolant and told us to leave the A/C on for a few hours to let it work through. So we followed directions and left it on. After about 4 hours it was still hot in the apartment. We called back maintenance and they said they would be back in a few days.

So on May 24th they showed back up to check the A/C and repair some roof problems we had (the drywall was falling off on our ceiling due to foundation issues) they recleaned the coils and worked on some lose insulation. Suprise suprise the A/C still didn't work.
May 27th they came back out and decided the unit needed to be replaced. Of course it couldn't be ordered til after the 1st and would take a week to get here.

So we waited and finally had it replaced on June 12th. It was working and we were excited to finally not have a 95-100 degree apartment. Unfortunately on the 15th the A/C made a noise and stopped working. So we filed the work order.
Over the course of that weekend we talked to the code enforcement agency who told us to speak to an attorney.
So, we went to consult with an attorney. After presenting all the evidence and showing our lease clearly states ALL A/C MAINTENANCE IS TO BE CARRIED OUT BY PROPERTY OWNER she advised us we would have a good civil case to file for judgement under code 92.0563.

No here is our issue. On Monday they came out and thank Jesus finally fixed the A/C. We were going to forget the whole civil suit and just be happy it was finally fixed. Then Monday night we turned it on and went to bed. At about 2am woke up freezing come to find out although the A/C was set at 80 it would not turn off and cooled itself down to 62!! So, we called corporate and they are sending a guy out Thursday. We have decided to end our lease under. So we spoke to our attorney who gave us two options:

Try to negotiate with corporate outside of a courtroom to be let out of our lease not have to pay the relenting fee and give a 30 day notice. Pay our back rated utilities and have them not report to our credit.
Or
Go to court provide 2 months rent plus relenting fee and sue for everything back. Rent, plus fee, plus court fees plus the maximum amount under code 92.0563.

Now the question as a LL would you negotiate or just go to court??
We just want to move out not deal with anything through the courts. I honestly don't care about claiming damages I just want to get out.
That being said if court is our only option we will go.
Opinions, suggestions advice all greatly appreciated!!

Thanks!!
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:11 PM
 
Location: California
4,404 posts, read 5,478,499 times
Reputation: 2997
If you just want to be able to move, I would just talk to the landlord. But I am guessing the LL will be reluctant to le you out of the lease. Yes, you probably have a case, however, depending on the judge, it IS possible that the judge would find that the LL upheld their portion of the lease, which is that all maintenance and repair is their responsibility. The judge, if it gets to court, may find that they were there to fix the A/C 5 times in a month and were acting in good faith with the terms of the lease. Also, they thought it was fixed each of the times, but one, from your information. Hard to blame the LL that something wasn't fixed when it appeared to be when the repair people left.

I guess what I am saying is that you MAY have a case claiming that they did not perform under the lease. however, the LL MAY have a case claiming that they did in fact perform, responded in a timely manner, and did all that was required to fix the issue. The lease is NOT that the A/C will work to the tenant's specifications at all times, it is the LL will repair and maintain. They did this.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:40 PM
 
5 posts, read 5,480 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the clarification and advice.
We fully understand that in a court of law you may always lose. That is why we would prefer the landlord settle with us. We have decided that no matter what we are moving out. We spoke to the lady in the office today and they have a waiting list. So we are pretty confident even if we have to move out by the book we will only pay a max of one months rent before they get a new tenant.
We will go to court if they don't make an agreement but, honestly we would rather try than not.
Hopefully it all works out and no one has to go to court. Plus every case is uncertain and maybe our landlord won't want to take that gamble either knowing we are easy to replace.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:47 PM
 
Location: California
4,404 posts, read 5,478,499 times
Reputation: 2997
Them having a waiting list does increase the chances of them agreeing to let you out of the lease. You may also have to forfeit a portion of the security deposit as a fee for breaking the lease. That depends on your lease and the terms you are willing to agree to...if the LL agrees to let you out, and says he will do so for a $500 fee, well, even if it is not in the lease, if those are terms you are willing to agree to (and they do not violate and laws in the state), get them in writing, get signatures, and get a proof of payment. Good luck.

P.S. Personally, if I was that willing to get the heck out, I would check the statutes, see what is legal, and just go with it. Being happy in your home is important.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,571 posts, read 10,927,731 times
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To be completely fair to both sides, sometimes it takes a few visits to figure out what is wrong with an A/C, so the fact that it took a couple of tries isn't really the LLs fault, and they have tried to fix the problem, even going to the expense of completely replacing the unit. BUT that should have taken place over the course of a week, not a full month. We try to always address A/C issues within 24 hours, and it sounds like they are taking 3 days to get out to you every time you call. That is too long, in my opinion. Having to order in a replacement, ok, but if it takes 17 days to get a new one in, they need to find a new supplier, because that isn't acceptable either.

So as a landlord, my opinion is that your LL was not ignoring you, they were responding and trying to fix it, but their level of service was completely inadequate and unacceptable.

So I agree you probably do have a case. But your question was whether you should pursue that case or not. In my opinion, try to negotiate acceptable terms directly with the LL first. Only take them to court if that fails. The courts should be for problems people can't work out on their own, so try to do that first.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:28 PM
 
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Thanks for the great advice. We really would like to avoid court because it is not fun for either party.
Out of curiosity what as a landlord would you consider reasonable terms in this situation to negotiate. Obviously we don't want to make him think court is easier than letting us out of our lease but, we also don't want to spend 4 months paying rent to a place that a judge might of let us walk away from.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:57 PM
 
4,795 posts, read 6,325,923 times
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I honestly don't think you have a case to take to court. Is the complex ignoring your work orders? Is the complex not coming out when they said they would? Is the complex doing what they can to try and fix the issue? Do you not realize and understand that you are not the only person in that complex that they have work orders for?

AC work isn't always cut and dry...ACs are expensive and they are going to do what they can to save some money ( can't say I blame them, why replace the unit when the coils can be replaced) Give them some time to figure out what the deal with the AC is.

Read your lease. It might say something like 'tenant can pay two months rent to break lease' ( obviously not that exact wording) but, you might have a way out without going to court.

Personally, I think the judge would side with the complex, they have work orders and such showing they are working on the problem.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,571 posts, read 10,927,731 times
Reputation: 4980
I really doubt a judge would grant back rent for a property that you DID live in during that time. If you had not been able to live there, and had to stay in a hotel during that time, that would be a different issue. But you were able to live there, even if it was uncomfortable. In addition, the problem was only reported to the landlord on May 15th, so at most, you are only talking 1 month, not 4. I assume 4 months is the total time you lived there, but that isn't really relevant.

My guess is that if it went to court, the judge would probably say the LL should give you your deposit back in full, and let you out of the remainder of your lease. I think you can negotiate both of those items yourself (assuming you haven't trashed the place, of course)
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:07 PM
 
5 posts, read 5,480 times
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Oh no the 4months is the remainder of our lease. We don't feel we should get back rent. We just don't want to pay the remaining four months while they look for someone new if by chance a judge would let us out all together.

Our apartment complex does have a waiting list so we are hoping that will allow for them to be more willing to let us out with minimum fees.

I do understand that there are others in the complex but, I consider renting as a business transaction my lease states that I have to allow 7 days for repairs or 5-7 for delivery of replacement and 7 days for repair making it 14 days not a month and counting.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,362 posts, read 10,460,211 times
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In Texas, AC is not seen as a necessary utility. Think of all the people who have no AC. Heat is another issue. That being said, the LL responded to the problem to your requests. Not to your liking, but there are responses. It is doubtful the courts will see it fit to return your rent for a property you lived in during this time.
If you want to move, tell the LL and try to negotiate. Otherwise, call it lesson learned.
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