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Can I find out if my landlord has been sued in the past for poor building conditions?

Seattle, WA |

My building is owned by an elderly woman and managed by two of her sons. One of them gets really defensive and yells at me every time I try to tell him about something that needs to be repaired. It's become really hostile to live here, and the building is in quite ill repair. In particular, there is a mold infestation that I think I'm allergic to, behind the wall in the bathroom which is now partially exposed because the landlord cut a hole in our shower to get at a plumbing leak. Our lease ends in 30 days, but the manager at our new apartment has just agreed to let us in early. If we leave due to the conditions, are we entitled to prorated return of prepaid rent? Also, is there a way to find out if our landlord has been sued in the past and would that help our case?

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Attorney answers 1


You don't "have a case", you have a difficult landlord and the sooner you get out of an apartment with a mold infestation, the better.

Congratulations on making the decision to relocate. Moving is a pain but getting sick from mold is not worth it. Don't ever tell your landlord about maintenance issues - write to the landlord, and keep a copy of what you wrote.

If you can afford to, pay rent at both places so you can take your time moving. If you leave early "due to conditions" you run the risk of ruining your credit and here's why: because you haven't given notice of your maintenance issues in writing. Without independent evidence, it is impossible to demonstrate that you complied with the RLTA, and your old, nasty landlord will likely convince a judge that you are simply deadbeats complaining rather than paying rent. Your landlord is under no obligation to return rent that you have paid.

You can look up your landlord through JIS-Link to see if they have been involved in lawsuits before. This is public record.

I know this sounds harsh. But wouldn't you rather have a candid assessment than get into court and hear it from a Judge ordering you to pay your landlord even more money?

Elizabeth Powell