Slumlord Endangering Your Health? Know Your Rights

by Rebbeca Binder on October 30, 2013

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While you have the obligation of paying your rent on time and keeping your rented home clean, your landlord also has the obligation of making sure the home that you are renting from him or her is sanitary and safe. If something in your rented house or apartment is broken or unsanitary, it may be your landlord’s responsibility to fix it. If your landlord refuses to make the needed repairs, you have the right to pursue legal action against him. Before you consider legal action, you would do well to understand the rights and responsibilities of your landlord.

a) Must Repair Fixtures inside the Home

If you did not bring your own appliances to your rented home and instead use appliances supplied to you by your landlord, this individual must fix your stove, refrigerator, hot water heater, air conditioner, and other appliances when they stop working.

If you notice that one of these fixtures is no longer working, you should tell your landlord, as well as provide him with a written notice that you are requesting service on this appliance. Your landlord is then legally obligated to make the necessary repairs within a reasonable amount of time.

b) Keep the Dwelling Safe and Sanitary

Your landlord also has the obligation of keeping your residence safe and sanitary. If your home gets flooded from rain or burst pipes, for example, your landlord must pay for contractors to come out and restore your home.

Likewise, if you have mold or mildew growing inside your home, your landlord also must remove this health threat from the residence. As with maintenance requests, you should notify him in writing that you want these risks removed from your home.

c) Maintain Structural Integrity of Unit

When your home or apartment is structurally compromised, it is up to your landlord to address these concerns. If your windows are loose, your front door is warped, the foundation is cracked, or you notice other structural damages, you should tell your landlord and request that these issues be fixed immediately. Your safety and all that reside in the home could be in jeopardy if these risks are allowed to continue.

Most landlords obey the federal and local laws for providing safe housing. However, if your landlord ignores you or refuses to repair and maintain the home that you are renting, you could take several actions against this individual.
1) File Complaint with Local Housing Authority

Every city has a housing authority office where you can lodge a formal complaint against your landlord. Once the complaint is lodged, the authority will investigate the claims and put pressure on your landlord to take the appropriate action to restore your home.

If your landlord still refuses to cooperate, he  could be fined and imprisoned for being a slumlord. Your landlord could also have his property seized from him.

2) Consult with an Attorney

You can also hire a personal injury attorney such as the ones found at to take legal action against your landlord. Your attorney can file a lawsuit, as well as explore criminal charges that may be applicable to your situation. Your lawyer will make sure your landlord is held accountable for his refusal to keep your house safe.

Landlords have the obligation of keeping your home safe, sanitary, and livable. If your landlord fails to uphold his responsibilities, carefully consider taking legal actions against this individual.
Attorneys, Dorris & Giordano,  firmly state, “if you are a property owner, you have a duty to make certain that your properties are safe for those living and working in them. When these duties are not met, and an injury or death occurs, the people in question may be deemed negligent, and held liable for damages.” 
Article Contributor Domonique Powell has experienced cases of landlord neglect and knows how risky it can be, and she urges anyone in that circumstance not to hesitate to take some form of action. Attorneys Dorris & Giordano PLC, at, have years of experience dealing with personal injury cases and can inform you of your rights.
Rebbeca Binder

Rebbeca Binder

Rebecca Binder is a stay-at-home mom to two daughters. She has been a freelance writer for five years and enjoys writing on topics relating to law and consumer information. Aside from her writing and family, her hobbies include playing piano and fitness.
Rebbeca Binder

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