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I own my mom's mobile home in WV, rent the lot. Does the landlord have a legal obligation to provide a lot that doesn't flood?

Princeton, WV |

When it rains, all the water comes rolling down the street and makes a right turn across the lot I rent. It's a mud pit & difficult to walk. I'm 59 & have fallen twice resulting in a pinched nerve with numbness in my arm & no insurance. Landlord lives up the street & has a grader & a bobcat but won't remedy the situation. Water flows underneath home & it stays damp. Soil and plants just wash on down the field. Mom fought the problem for 23 yrs. Now I'm here &I see what she went through. I was out of state & had no idea. Landlord said I could try something, but when I run an idea by him he says he doesn't want me doing it. Am I responsible for fixing this problem? Could he make me leave if I push the issue? Rentals aren't allowed & couldn't sell if for all the $$ put in it.

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Attorney answers 1


This is one of those issues where I can read the statute, but getting you help really depends on someone who practices day in and day out down there. I urge you to find a lawyer experienced working with mobile homes in the Princeton/Beckley/Bluefield area. The landlord should not allow these conditions to exist, especially if a risk to health (from standing water/mold) and safety. Whether you can withhold rent is something you must ask a local lawter about - the statute (WV Code Chapter 37, Article 15) doesn't address that. I would also talk to your local building inspector and board of health, as they likely have legal tools they can employ. The statutes do protect you against retaliation by the landlord, but he will likely make your life unpleasant. Thus again, get an attorney to help you and run interference for you. Don't let him get away with this - been going on too long.

PS - Have been in your area. Beautiful country. Was in Princeton for the 4th of July fireworks in 2006.

To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.

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