Skip to main content
Clifford L. Tuttle Jr.
Avvo
Pro

Clifford Tuttle’s Answers

755 total


  • What are my legal rights if there is mold, roaches and filthy conditions in my hotel room? Thank you very much.

    I just booked a room/airfare with Travelocity. Upon reading the reviews I am scared to death to stay there. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis (a systemic disease) and am allergic to mold. If I get sick I could end up in the hospital because of the biolo...

    Clifford’s Answer

    It doesn't hurt to ask Travelocity. They may have rules that would permit you to cancel. However, they may also tell you that the reviews are wrong.

    This kind of problem is not addressed by the Landlord & Tenant Act. I do not know of any legal protection which would enable you to protect yourself in advance from reported mold, roaches or the like. Perhaps you woulds have a remedy if you stayed there and incurred damages, but since you have been warned, you may be assuming the risk.

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

    See question 
  • My landlord is demanding that I get my car fixed before spring next month. I don't have the money so can I use the rent money

    since the landlord is demanding that I do something immediately and is telling me how to live . it is their requirement to pay for the lifestyle they are commanding me to do.

    Clifford’s Answer

    I can only assume he wants you to fix a loud muffler that is bothering others in the parking lot. Where did you get the idea that you could deduct car repairs from rent? Of course, the landlord cannot direct you to do something that is not justified somewhere in the lease. If he tries to evict you, it may be for excessive noise. If you can't afford to fix the problem, perhaps you can park it somewhere else. Not the best solution, but it beats fighting an eviction.

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

    See question 
  • Can I terminate my lease due to being uninhabitable?

    I have a leak that has spread over the past month due to a leak in the roof. I requested it to be fixed when i first noticed it last September, it is not February. In addition to that, I haven't had running water at all in my apartment for 4 days ...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Based upon the facts you gave, the probability is very good. However, be aware that your landlord may sue you anyway, so you must be prepared to defend yourself in court. Make sure you have lots of pictures.

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

    See question 
  • Can tenant refuse to give the owner the keys to the building

    Couple of months ago I had the metal door installed to protect the glass door. The day the contract finished the job I was at work and i told the contract to give the keys to my tenant. Since then I haven't had a chance to stop by and get the keys...

    Clifford’s Answer

    You could hire a locksmith and drill and change the locks. Do it before 7 AM to avoid a confrontation. Then make extra keys and give one to the tenant.

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

    See question 
  • Can my landlord can charge me for a listing fee w/ a real estate agent?

    I paid first, last month and security deposit when I moved in. I have to end the lease one month early. I have no issue with them keeping last months rent but, I need my security deposit back to pay for moving cost. My rent is $2150/month; the...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Not if the lease doesn't provide for it. But even if there is a provision, it shouldn't apply here because you are paying the last month's rent. Unfortunately, you cannot force your landlord to pay the security deposit under the Landlord and Tenant Act until you have moved out, given your forwarding address in writing, 30 days have passed and he has either failed to send you a written explanation of deductions from the security deposit with the balance (if any) or sent you a written explanation which you contest.

    At that point, you can file a com,plaint with the Magistrate. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act, you would be entitled to double the amount awarded if you win.

    So, you are going to have to find another way to pay moving expenses.

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

    See question 
  • Can I break my lease if the neighboring unit's cigarette smoke is coming into my apartment?

    Cigarette smoke triggers migraines for me, and it's been miserable since the new tenants moved in. This is my 5th year living here, and I haven't had any major issues until now. The apartment building has "No Smoking" signs on the doors from outsi...

    Clifford’s Answer

    As a practical matter, you do not yet have a legal remedy. I say not yet, because the law is trending in this direction. Public housing projects around the country are banning smoking and I think that many private landlords will pick up on the idea.

    Nevertheless, if you are willing to do so, you could just refuse to pay the rent, forcing the landlord to commence eviction proceedings. Of course, you would have to have someplace lined up to move right away. Finding a smoke-free building may be difficult at the present time. Your landlord, like most, probably uses an older form lease that doesn't have a smoking ban.

    Although there may be other legal avenues available, they will take too long and cost too much. By the time a non-landlord-tenant suit would come up for trial, the lease would have expired.

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

    See question 
  • What can I do?

    I stayed in a hotel on September 25th 2014, well the next morning we noticed a few little bugs in our bed. Four days later I noticed bites on my arms and ankles. After I looked up bed bugs and this is what we seen in our room. What should I do?

    Clifford’s Answer

    It may be too late, but you should wash all of your clothes AND sheets in hot water. Get your suitcase out of the house. If you continue to get new bites, you will have to hire an exterminator that treats for bed bugs. Unfortunately, bed bugs are very hard to exterminate.

    Since you know you brought in the bedbugs, if you are a tenant, it wouldn't be right to make a claim against the landlord. In fact, if he learns about this, your landlord may make a claim against you.

    Someday, somebody is going to sue a hotel. But the problems of proof may this a high risk case.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question 
  • It has been almost 2 months since we moved out. do we have any recourse?

    We rented a property for 16 years. The lease stated that when we left, the property should be as is was when we rented it but I don't think we nor they expected us to stay 16 years. We did not do a walk through at the end of our lease though we di...

    Clifford’s Answer

    The security deposit is to cover damages over and above ordinary wear and tear. In 16 years you should expect a lot of things to wear out from continuous use. If they didn't provide a written list of damages and include a check for the balance of the security deposit within 30 days following move-out, you can sue them at the Magistrate's office for double your deposit. I suggest you find a lawyer that knows about Landlord-Tenant practice to assist you.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question 
  • What are my rights as a tenant

    I have been living in a house since NOv 2013 and I have never been late with rent, I keep the home immaculate inside and out. In my lease I am allowed pets and I have a dog and a cat. When I moved in it was only me I am 52yo. In May a six year ...

    Clifford’s Answer

    These matters must be addressed in the lease to be enforced during the term of the lease. However, it sounds like he is planning to raise the rent in the new lease year beginning in November. He can also specify how many people can live there in the renewed lease. You may want to look for another place to live if there will be a new lease to sign.

    Clifford L. Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    PO Box 24530
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question 
  • Evicting a tenant with mental health issues

    I have a tenant who has been repeatedly late or behind on rent for a year. Now tenant is not working and dealing with mental health issues. I let tenant know I need them to leave. I am filing with court for eviction of tenant. How long can this ta...

    Clifford’s Answer

    Mental health problems are not a defense in a landlord tenant case.

    As to how long, there is no simple answer. If you win and the case is not appealed, you could have an eviction as soon as 16 or 17 days after the decision. However, if there is an appeal, the matter could take two or three additional months or longer. Worst case -- appeal to court could stretch the time out to a year. If the tenant appeals, find a lawyer who regularly handles landlord tenant cases.

    Clifford L Tuttle, Jr
    Attorney at Law
    Pittsburgh, PA

    See question