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Can I sue my landlord for not fixing the water heater and damages caused by it and only fixing them temporarily?

Coldwater, MI |

I have been living in a basement apartment for 3 months now. About a month and half ago I contacted my landlord about a leak in my bathroom caused my the water heater. He sent a maintence guy over who said he had fixed it. About 2 1/2 weeks ago, the water heater started leaking again, causing my whole apartment to stink. We contacted the landlord who sent over the maintence guy just 2 days ago. The maintence guy informed my me that the water heater was too small for the apartment complex. He contacted the landlord to inform the landlord of this, and the landlord told him that they did not have the money to fix it at this time. The maintence guy fixed the water heater and said he would be back in a month to have to do the same thing because the landlord couldn't afford to get a bigger one.

Attorney Answers 1


Suing the landlord is not something you can do. Since you have notified the landlord of the problem and he has failed to repair it, you have three options. 1) Move out; 2) Make the repairs yourself and deduct them from the rent; or 3) set up an escrow account and place the rent in the account until the repairs are taken care of.

You might also notify the city inspectors if the problem could pose a health and safety violation, which I believe this could.

Michigan publishes a booklet on landlord/tenant rights, which you may find helpful. You can find that, here:

Best of luck to you with this frustrating problem!

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

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