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Need legal advise on suing former landlord, and the Housing Authority.

Saint Louis, MO |

Leased a 1bd house under section 8. This all started in 2011 by me requesting a copy of my lease agreement from the owner and the Housing Authority. No on would send me a copy of the residential lease agreement signed by the owner and myself. The owner and I where speaking about repairs verbally, and no repairs were being done. I needed the lease agreement to see what the owner and I signed. The Housing Authority was suppose to have a copy of this document in my file before a move-in date was agreed upon.

Property owner never secured a property occupancy permit. A copy of the permit was obtained from the Housing Conservation Dept. today 4/15/2013. The permit shows that is was not inspected for Section 8. The landlord is currently being sued by MSD for non-payment of the Sewer bill, and is stating that I'm responsible for bills never sent to my attention. The owner never sent to my attention a copy of the MSD bill because they owed over $500 before I had become a tenant in 2010. This is the reason the MSD bill was never sent to my attention for payment.
I cannot access an account, or demand a bill that is not in my name. It was the property owner's responsibility to do so, and the bill was never sent to me. It does not make sense that I would pay their water/trash bill, and my bank statement show that I have never been late with the bills, and not pay a sewer bill as well. I've paid all of the rent/ and utilities in my name. I even paid the water/trash bill that was in the owner's name. I paid the water/trash bill, and was never responsible for the trash portion of the bill that is in the owner's name. The housing authority has advised the owner that they have to return the trash portion paid to me. The lease agreement does not coincide with the housing authority agreements. The rent was $520 per month, but the lease says $540. The move-in date was 9/20/2010, but the lease says that I moved in August 2010.

The roof continued to leak in two different areas of the home causing damage to my clothes, and furniture. I was advised by LSEM to file a complaint with the city building inspectors, and health department. The property was inspected by the housing authority, city building inspectors, and health department last November & December 2012. Each inspection failed, and the owner was to rectify needed repairs. The owner's repair man opened ceilings without properly closing off the areas, and exposed the entire home to mold. The spore had cause me to become sick with respiratory breathing problems 12/2012. I still have the same problems today, and is currently seeking medical attention through a pulmonary specialist. I had an environmental specialist who only performed air test, and not remediation to the home March 2013. I did not have the money to do so in December of 2012. The test performed 3 months after the indoor repairs indicated that the mold count was 3x's higher, and the type of spores found causes upper respiratory breathing complications.

I have copies of all of the pertinent paperwork, pictures of the property before and after indoor repairs, and additional information. This matter is currently being investigated by HUD, but I'm very reluctant to forward any additional information to the investigator. I learned that she is disclosing my personal information to the former landlord, which includes my current residential address along with other information that should be kept private, and for their records only during this investigation. I would like to take the owner, and the (Housing Authority) to court, and sue for damages.

Attorney Answers 1

  1. Taking your questions one by one:

    Regarding the copy of the lease: Certainly the housing authority has a copy as does [removed], though only lack of courtesy would prevent the latter from providing a copy. Total incompetence and being overworked bureaucrats would possibly prevent the housing authority from providing a copy, but I've generally found the County housing to be pleasant people, government bureaucrats though they may be. To be sure, they may say you were provided a copy at lease inception and you should've kept it, but regardless, getting a copy shouldn't be a big deal.

    Regarding the occupancy permit: No permit from a county or municipality, in my experience, would in any way indicate anything to do with Sec. 8. The housing authority does its own inspection.

    Regarding MSD: If landlord is being sued for non-payment, who cares? Realistically, they cannot shut off service on your landlord or you. So long as you pay Ameren, Laclede and MO-American Water, nobody can shut off the lights, gas or water. However, regardless of how much MSD is owed, they cannot put a cork in the sewer line. In other words, they cannot but provide service.

    More to come... client is here I will address other issues shortly...

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