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I have a verbal agreement with the landlord .. she and i had a dispute..three mths later she shuts my water supply off totally

Port Orchard, WA |

i cant turn it on pay it or out it in my name...she tryed breaking in my home and the cops were called she was removed for the last thre months shes stolen my mail at least onc e every other week she harrasses my phone daily but wont evict me...she has had the water company completely shut off with no way off turning it back on im not aloud water at my home....ive been there 8 mths and in middle of winter they shut it off i have 2 yr old son and have literatly had full pay money in hand to pay whatever it would take to reconnect they said i can pay it but they wont turn it back on no matter what ...???what do i do ???i have kept my part of or verbal agreement "lease" ..... and made tremendous improvments to the house floors ..huge 7 truck loads of hazordous garbage to dump my pocket $$

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Attorney answers 1


Okay. Start by giving your landlady written notice to turn on the water, because it is unlawful in WA for a landlord to interfere with their tenant's utility services for longer than it takes to make a repair. Read RCW 59 18 300. Take her a copy, mail a copy certified and another first-class, post a copy on her front door. Take a copy to the water department. Then contact the City or the county and tell them your landlord turned off the water. The correct entity to contact is the Building Department. If the Building Department says they cannot help you, go find the Civil Deputy in the local Prosecuting attorney's office and provide them with copies of your letter.

The law is clear that a tenancy without water is not a tenancy. See Tucker v Hayford, Div III, 2003. Other sentences in your posting concern me. It is not unheard of for a landlord and a tenant to agree that the tenant will reside in a property that is not code-compliant for free or reduced rent and in exchange the tenant will rehab the property. This is unlawful. A landlord in WA at all times has to provide a habitable property - another way of saying it keeps out the weather, contains no immanent hazards (such as ancient wiring or asbestos) and is otherwise fit for habitation. The law is there to protect tenants. See RCW 59 18 230. The law is not going to hold you to such an agreement. Even if it is not in writing. I'm concerned that you could be exposed to something like asbestos tile and not taking suitable precautions when rehabbing this property, which is incredibly dangerous. It is also unlawful for her to not properly dispose of hazardous materials - they can't go to the dump, there is a protocol that has to be observed.

If this is what is happening to you, then today write that letter, make a lot of copies, hand-deliver that letter to your landlord and see my Legal Guide on tenant's relocation remedy. Or read RCW 5 18 085 and RCW 59 18 115. WA doesn't apply the Consumer Protection Act to tenancies, so the RLTA contains its own remedies, which are actually pretty good.

Bremerton is home to the Kitsap County Volunteer Legal Services program. They probably are not there over the weekend, but you might be able to catch them Monday morning. Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell

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