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Old 05-05-2014, 11:22 AM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
17 posts, read 88,416 times
Reputation: 15


I live in a loft conversion building that is almost entirely concrete, but I've had the misfortune of a massive termite swarm in my apartment. They're everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I've been advised by maintenance to no longer sleep or conduct business in my dwelling.
There are several problems with this.
First, I have a neurotic cat that can't function outside of her regular surroundings (my home) and when I tried to move us to a safe place, she hyperventilated in her sleep so we had to go home.
Second, I'm in the middle of one of my two busiest times of the year right now and NEED to work, but I can't. Not only was I told to stay away, but termites are literally all over everything so I just can't.
I'm not paying my rent until my house is bug free. I know that's legal. I would also like for my property management company to send out a cleaning service to take care of the aftermath (unless I'm allowed to do it myself and bill them my regular hourly rate of 100/hour and deduct it from my rent).
What I'm really wondering is if I could possibly file a lawsuit for lost wages. Is a residential building but I have my business and commercial operating license at this address and management is aware that I conduct my business from my home. I've lost two days so far and missed three important deadlines. I've spoken with an attorney friend of mine and he says it would be a legitimate claim, but he isn't in this area, so I am hoping for input from locals.
Also, I got a new phone and am trying to learn swipe so I apologize for typos!
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:05 PM
9 posts, read 9,707 times
Reputation: 10
Default read your lease contact philly gov agencies

If the maintenance team is advising youvto vacate then perhaps its a large enough problem that the landlord pays for your relocation until resolved. Not sure your cat issues will get much leverage but if its unhealthy for human occupants nail them to the wall. Call philly 311 and locate appropriate people.

Not sure ehat consversion means but if its a recent gut and refurb then i cant imagine how they missed a termite swarm unlessvthey just vacuumed the signs and didnt call in pest control.

Read your leade, contact philly 311 and an attorney versed in philly rental law. I would also talk to owners/managers directly....if you go the court royte first they will clam up on the issue. Maybe there decent enough to undersatand and correct the issue. NOt sure busines expense losses are at stake unless your lease is commercial or indicates your rental is for biz expenses.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:43 PM
Location: Philadelphia, PA
17 posts, read 88,416 times
Reputation: 15
Thank you so much for the info! I didn't know about Philly 311.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:18 PM
Location: University City, Philadelphia
22,632 posts, read 12,789,064 times
Reputation: 15763
Originally Posted by lily1981 View Post

I'm not paying my rent until my house is bug free. I know that's legal.

No it's not. You have no idea what you're talking about.

I know, because I am a landlord and I have a well known attorney (hint: his office is one block from City Hall on 13th Street), and have become familiar with tenant/landlord disputes.

You do have a right to withhold your rent, but you obey the law and follow the proper steps:

  • Notify the landlord why you are withholding the rent and you must divulge the bank and account number of the escrow account you have set up. The notification must be hand delivered and signed by the landlord that he/or she has received it. A phone call or verbal notice is unacceptable.
  • Go to the Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) and file a formal complaint.
  • Pay your rent payments in full and on time and deposit them in a proper escrow account; the bank will walk you through the steps and have you sign documents.
If you do not follow all the steps and do everything to the letter of the law, your landlord will file for eviction for nonpayment and I can be reasonably sure he/she will follow the letter of the law.

You must realize that (I assume) the landlord did not put the termites there as an act of malice in order to harass you. He/she is allowed a reasonable amount of time to call an exterminator and solve the problem. Here in Philly, we often have a problem with mice, sometimes "stink bugs" ... never heard of a termite problem in a multi-story apartment house.

Last edited by Clark Park; 05-06-2014 at 03:48 PM..
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