Landlord Tenant Dispute gets heated
(Memphis) “You not doing your job. You not doing your job. You are filthy, nasty, slum lord,” yelled a tenant outside Austin Point Apartments.
Tensions are rising as residents say their living conditions are shameful.
“In my kids room roaches. My room roaches and mold,” says tenant Desiree Scott.
She said her apartment feels like anything but home, “A broke tile that come out against the wall. SInce it broke roaches come all through there. My sink is like so loose, it’s like it’s about to fall.”
Her fear is for her young children.
Rickety doors are no security.
Scott says it’s been this way since December and the Apartment owners have been dragging their feet.
As she was showing us the problems, Claude Morton , who says he is the apartment complex’s co-owner, showed up, saying he only learned of the problems this week and the real issue is the tenants aren’t paying their rent.
“Like I tell them, ya’ll gotta pay your rent in order for me to get things done. Ya’ll rent is my income. So if they don’t pay the rent, I’m gonna have to file (suit) on you. So when I file on them, they get upset and say this is wrong with my apartment and this and they never called it in at first,” said Morton.
He said he had not been notified of the problems in the apartments.
He is taking the tenants who are behind on their rent to court.
China Lane is one of those being sued.
But she says withholding part of the rent was a way to get the owner to fix major water problems that he neglected for a week, “Water was coming from the bathroom all the way to the hallway. I opened up the furnace door and water was just pouring down.”
Attorneys always say you should continue to pay your rent on time.
While the apartment owner is suing the tenants, he says now that he knows about the apartment problems, he will get them repaired immediately.
Desiree Scott hopes so, ”I don’t have much, but it’s just the principle. I have kids. I stay here. This is what we call home. This ain’t no home.”
One thing Desiree Scott did was sign-off on conditions before moving into her apartment.
If you see problems before you move in, make sure you note them on anything you sign.
The state Consumer Affairs Department says landlords have an obligation to make all repairs and the keep the premises livable.
If the landlord doesn’t make repairs once they are made aware of them, the tenant can get the work done and deduct in from the rent, recover damages based upon the rent, or
get reasonable substitute housing and be excused from paying rent for that time.
If you have landlord-tenant disputes, contact the Tennessee Consumer Affairs Hotline at 800-342-8385.
You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.tn.gov/consumer