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Is my landlord responsible for extra fee's/bills?

Charlottesville, VA |

We have been renting a place for 3 yrs, about a year ago our we informed our landlord of an issue with our HVAC constantly running. He said he would fix it and he didnt, 6 months ago his son in law took over, told him the issue he said it would get fixed, it didnt. Now my electirc bills ar through the roof, is my landlord responsible for the difference in the bill due to his failure to fix the problem? We also tried to get someone to repair it ourselves we got a quote showed him and he said if we took it from the rent he would hav us kicked out.

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Attorney answers 1


Your recourse to this situation is to file a tenant's assertion suit pursuant to Virginia Code Section 55-225.12. The link to the statute is below. In a tenant's assertion, the tenant asserts a material breach of the lease by the landlord. Once the suit is filed, instead of paying rent to the landlord, the tenant pays it to the court to be held in escrow. The landlord must then proceed through the court in order to obtain the rent, and he risks a wrongful eviction suit if he tries to evict you or eject you during the pendency of the suit. At the trial of your claim, the court then will determine whether the landlord breached the lease. If so, the court will order your landlord to fix the problem(s) and provide proof of that fact by a date certain. When the court is satisfied that the problem is resolved, the court will release your rent in escrow to the landlord.

There is an important distinction between "paying rent into escrow", which can be done with a realtor, bank, or anyone, really, and paying your rent to the court to be held in the escrow during a tenant's assertion suit. The first is probably a breach of the lease, the second is protected.

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The above is solely for informational purposes and does not create an attorney client relationship.