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Can I start an escrow for my rent?

Philadelphia, PA |

The basement of the house that I rent has been flooded since Saturday (3/9/2013) due to a cracked pipe. Not only has flooding ruined my belongings but it gets worse every time the sink/bathtub/washer is in use. Owners of the house have been aware of the problem since Saturday but the water damage has not been cleaned up, even though I keep requesting them to temporary fix the pipe/clean up the water and still no response. Can I start an escrow for my rent?

Attorney Answers 2


Your LL may be liable for damages, rent abatement, attorney fees and more. Maybe health code violations. See a local LL-T attorney ASAP.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.

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Your landlord may be responsible for the damages to your personal belongings. With respect to withholding rent, it is a remedy available if there is a breach of the warranty of habitability (i.e. the place is not fit for habitation). I always recommend meeting with an attorney before embarking on this path because the landlord can retaliate with a lawsuit, eviction, or a negative credit inference. Essentially, you can write the landlord (via certified mail) giving them a chance to correct the water (and possibly mold) issues with the basement. In that letter tell the landlord that you are allocating the rent towards these repairs if the landlord does not address the problem. If the landlord does not address the problem, another alternative is to vacate the premises, informing the landlord that they have breached the lease by interfering with your quiet enjoyment and not honoring the warranty of habitability. If you have renters insurance, put a claim in with your carrier for the damaged property

Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.

Crawford Law Firm
A Full Service Law Firm Serving Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Philadelphia Area Office
223 North Monroe Street
Media, Pennsylvania 19063


All information provided in this comment is intended for informational purposes only and does not, by itself, create an attorney client relationship. If you wish to consult with an attorney, or have any questions concerning this comment, please feel free to contact our offices through any of the above contact sources.

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