We noticed it wasn't working when we moved in, and notified him about it. He said he would send someone out but still hasn't, and hasn't returned any of our phone calls. It's a big problem because we have a 2 year old daughter and not being able to use the oven is getting really annoying! What can we do?
The laws in MA are very much in favor of tenants in your situation. I would suggest that you speak with an attorney soon about your options which may include calling the Dept of Health for a free inspection and then they will also follow up with the landlord. You could also consider sending him a certified letter stating that since he hasn't responded to your previous requests, you are going to start withholding rent - that will probably get his attention and it's something that it sounds like you'd be justified in doing. There are also laws that protect you from retaliation should you take any of these actions. I would suggest going over the options with an attorney and discussing the potential outcomes of each course of action. I'm sorry you have to deal with this difficult situation. Best of luck!
The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.
It's the landlord's responsibility to keep appliances that he supplies in good working order.
One remedy for problems that don't cost too much to fix is "repair and deduct." After the Board of Health (or whoever in Salem inspects property for compliance with the State Sanitary Code) documents the problem and orders the landlord to correct it, if the landlord doesn't start repairs within 5 days or substantially complete repairs within 14 days, you have the option of hiring someone to make the repair and deducting what you paid from the rent you would otherwise pay the landlord. This remedy is allowed for repairs that cost up to 4 months' rent. You send the landlord a letter with receipts showing what you paid to repair the condition. Sometimes contractors, such as the electrician or plumber you'll need to repair the oven, are reluctant to deal with tenants in this situation, but you should be able to find one who will work for you.
While "repair and deduct" is a less provocative approach than totally withholding rent, I can't rule out the possibility that the landlord would react to this assertion of your rights by trying to evict you. In such case, consult a housing lawyer promptly.
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