The landlord just got a violation from the department of building stating that the condition of the whole third floor ( attic) are not suitable for living and hold healthy hazard for all tenants. In addition, the attic was proved to be a storageturned to two illegal apartments without second exit with limited lighting and ventilation.
When we rent the apartment in the attic, he said that because this apartment in listed with a real estate company we need to pay real estate fee in addition to the deposit and the first rent. He never gave us a lease, even though I requested it. Before we moved, the apartment was supposed to be painted but it was not. Second, one month after there were visible traces of mold on the floor and in the bathroom. Other serious issues were a smoking tenant dwelling the apartment next to ours. He was using the bathroom to smoke any time during the day and because of the poor ventilation all the smoke was coming to my apartment. Eventually he started to leave his front door open and the smoke entered the lobby area as well. What is more,my doctor found out that the lead in my blood is increasing. The apartment had visible paint chips.
If you were still residing in the unit, and if the landlord was trying to evict you, the alleged illegal status of the unit would be a defense to paying rent. You would still have to move. It sounds like you have done that already and would like to know now if you can sue your landlord for damages. You can, but you would have to prove the nature of your contract (which was oral, so whether the unit was to be painted or not is a he-said-she-said situation), the nature of his duties to you (ensuring that other tenants do not interfere with your quiet enjoyment of the space is a duty, but I'm not sure the smoking neighbor is sufficient to demonstrate the abrogation of that duty), the damages to you (lead in the blood is a very serious condition, but typically a concern with small children who do not know better than to eat the paint chips). If you did not have a signed lease, you could have and should have moved earlier.
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