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Clifford L. Tuttle Jr.
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Clifford Tuttle’s Answers

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  • My landlord has been notified on several occasions about a leaking ceiling in my unit and had cut a hole in the ceiling& left it

    My landlord has been notified on several occasions about a leaking ceiling in my unit and had cut a whole in the ceiling to look for it and never found the leak and never resealed the hole. Now I have a hole above my stove/sink roughly 2ft long & ...

    Clifford’s Answer

    The problem is, the Magistrate has no power to force your landlord to make the necessary repairs. These defects sound as though they are making the premises uninhabitable. Take pictures. Send them by email to your landlord. Demand that he repair them in a reasonable time. And if there is no response, you can start looking for a better place to live.

    Unfortunately, the landlord may sue you for rent, so you will have to be prepared to prove that the premises are uninhabitable in their current condition, that you gave notice and a reasonable time to correct and that nothing was done.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law

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  • Can i break my lease over roach infestation?

    We have lived at our apartment for 3 years. We have never had any type of pest/bug problems over the entire time of us living here. Recently we have seen roaches in our bathroom and kitchen. Our neighbors have also confirmed that they have seen th...

    Clifford’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You must give your landlord notice and a reasonable time to cure the problem. Written notice is best -- email will do. If the landlord does nothing and you can prove that the infestation made the leased premises uninhabitable, case law says you can terminate the lease. However, you run the risk that the landlord may sue you for rent and you will have to defend the termination of the lease in court. You should have pictures that are dated. If you send them to the landlord by email, this establishes the date of the pictures.

    Some tenants call the County Health Department to bolster their case. In Allegheny County (I don't know about Erie County) the Health Department sends an initial letter, but frequently closes the case without further action as soon as the landlord files for an eviction. Don't count on the Health Department to prove your case.

    Rather than move, you can also hire your own exterminator and deduct it from the rent. However, if the landlord decides to sue for eviction, you will end up defending yourself at the magistrates.

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  • I am building a house. My mortgage bank is now saying I cannot afford the mortgage and we have invested a lot of money already.

    We are building a home. We have been giving the loan officer all papers pertaining to changes that have increased the price. All along he has said we could get this loan with 10% down and our incomes. We have been giving the builder deposits in ca...

    Clifford’s Answer

    You are going to have to find a lender that will invest construction loan funds in a partially completed house. This is difficult, but may not be impossible. Contact local community banks and credit unions. Good luck.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law

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  • My landlord is trying to evict me for past due rent. But agreed to work with the urban league to receive the payment in full

    The urban league will pay the full amount but its at least a 90 day waiting period. So if my landlord agreed would they be able to evict me still

    Clifford’s Answer

    Will the Urban League pay one month or three months after 90 days? Regardless, how are you going to get back on schedule, assuming that the Urban League payment comes through?

    You need to work out a deal, in writing, that includes the Urban League payment but does not rely on it alone. Then keep the agreement.

    By the way, in my experience, these grants take longer than the agency says to come through. You need to plan to pay something while you wait for the Urban League money.

    CLT

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  • Do I need an attorney for an eviction proceeding?

    I have resided at my current address for 6 months. During the course of my residents my landlord has produced no receipts for payment of rent. My landlord wants to evict me for nonpayment of rent. If my landlord goes to the district justice for an...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Unfortunately, you are the one who will probably have to prove by documentary evidence that you paid. Your landlord will testify that you didn't pay and perhaps make reference to ledgers that he keeps. Then you will testify that you did. Who do you think the Magistrate will believe? If you paid in cash you may have a big problem.

    If you have check statements, money order receipts or anything like that, get them together.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law

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  • My landlord changed my locks while I was at work based on a lie about my fiancé he heard from a neighbor. what do I do?

    I came home from work and my locks were changed. When I finally reached my landlord the following day he said, it wasn't so much we were behind on the rent as he had gotten a call from a neighbor who told him that there was a bounty hunter there a...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Locking you out of your apartment is a breach of the lease. However, that is just the beginning. Hire a lawyer who is experience in civil litigation and is familiar with the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. You could be entitled to ordinary damages, exemplary damages and attorneys fees. In the mean time, find another place to live in a hurry. Staying there will mean nothing but trouble.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law

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  • I just found out that I'm renting a house from someone who was possibly just a squatter on the property. Do I have any rights??

    3 months ago we signed a lease and paid 6 months rent for a single family home in Germantown. A few days ago PWD came out and shut off the water w/o warning, in the process of attempting (and failing) to restore water service we learned that our ...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Yes, you should not pay any more rent. Yes you should look for another place to move as soon as you can. Do not wait for someone to evict you. You acted in good faith, but now you know that you have no right to be there. Besides, it is not healthy to stay in a place without utilities. Perhaps your Representative can help you find low cost housing.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law

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  • I was treated unfairly at an appeals hearing on property taxes what type of attorney would I talk to thanks bob

    The review board did not here my audio testimony on my properties because. The recording equipment was not working or was erased how can they make a decision with out hearing the testimony .there is a lot more to this. Need help thanks

    Clifford’s Answer

    You must appeal the decision within 30 days of the date it is dated (not received) to the Allegheny County Board of Viewers. Because of the high volume of 2012 appeals, the BV has established a policy of holding conciliations and only scheduling trials if the conciliation is unsuccessful. All of the conciliations that I have handled in 2013 and 2014 have resulted in settlements agreeable to the landowner. In many cases, the School District (who is usually the biggest problem) has not participated because it is below it cut-ff point or has been unusually cooperative. It is a very good idea to have an attorney experienced in assessment appeals who is able to present the data concerning your property and comparable sales. The dollars per square foot of living space of the subject property versus the dollars per square foot of living space is very important. The cost of hiring a qualified attorney and paying the appeal filing fee has, in my experience, been worthwhile. However, be prepared to wait for a year or more due to backlog. In the meantime, you must continue to pay the tax as assessed. If you get a reduction, you will get refunds from each of the taxing bodies.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law

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  • He wants to put the deed into his name, make my mortgage payments. Then next year refinance the mortgage into his name.

    My house is in foreclosure,but the bank has not officially done anything yet. He is going to pay the mortgage up to date and make the payments. I am concerned because the deed would be in his name, but the mortgage would still be in my name. What ...

    Clifford’s Answer

    This is a very dangerous proposition. Based on the facts you have given me, he may be trying to purchase the property for a small fraction of its value. Deals like this, in my experience, rarely work out to the benefit of the homeowner. If you want to go forward with this, you need a lawyer -- your own lawyer.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh PA

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  • Can estate lawyer let my brothers house foreclose?

    I have an odd question: My grandfather co-signed on my brothers mortgages. My brother later ended up claiming bankruptcy. Every two weeks his mortgage payment comes out of his pay check and he can stay in his home. Grandpap has passed away but his...

    Clifford’s Answer

    You haven't told me whether you discussed this with the lawyer who represents the estate and what he/she said. He/she knows the relevant facts, including what the relevant instruments say. Sometimes non-lawyers use the term "co-sign" when the signer was actually a guarantor. In any event, it is necessary to examine the documents involved and know all of the facts before expressing an opinion. Talk to the lawyer representing the estate. Ask questions. Don't shop his/her opinion. If you want a second opinion, tell the estate lawyer.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr.
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

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