Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tenant Assistance Program Saved me from a Slum Lord.

After the apartment I used to live in sprayed for the second time and the bugs kept coming back, I knew I had to find a way out of there! I couldn't live in Hell any longer. Living with bed bugs is like Hell.

I did a little research to see what my rights were. This is a great website full of tenant resources. You can find your state's tenant laws here.

This was my old landlord.
I came across  The Arizona Tenants Advocates who so far have done a wonderful job of helping me out of this slum lord situation.

The way they approach things almost every time is to locate general violations or health and safety issues in the unit or the complex, as well as violations in the rental agreement itself. Of course they do this abiding by the law. They serve the management the list of issues that need to be remedied, and if the management does nothing to fix the issues within the allotted 10 days, they essentially terminate your lease in failure to remedy said health and safety violations and even general violations. 

In my case because it was a health and safety violation bedbug infestation, they had 5 days to fix the bug problem. The rest of the list allotted 10 days. They didn't even serve me the 2 day "I'm going to enter your unit" notice until the 5th day.

 So they breached the contract by failure to remedy any of the problems that had risen. Keep in mind, this was not the first time I had asked them to fix the bug problem. They sent me a letter stating that I owed them thousands of dollars, which was total bull because they did not act in good faith, nor did they remedy the issues. So their failure to remedy anything was a conscious choice, and I am no longer bound to the unit because they failed to fix the health and safety violations.

I'm not sure if the Arizona Tenants Advocates help people out of state, but all you have to do is email or call them to find out. They only have one phone line, so if they're on the phone you wont be able to leave a message.

They charged me 85% of one months rent for their services, although I had to pay for a process server several times but that was my choice. If you get help from them, and you're trying to speed up the process it does pay to use a process server, however it is expensive up front, though cheaper in the long run.

If you seek help from any Tenant Assistance programs make sure you follow their instructions to the T. There have been many cases where the tenant sabotaged their own case by neglecting to do something, or being loose lipped.

Remember, don't tell them about the Tenants Assistance, or that you intend to break your lease.

Do not verbally discuss any important matters with your landlord, always request that their concerns be submitted to you in writing.

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