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Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

ConcernedTenant
August 29, 2017 10:25PM

Registered: 4 months ago
Posts: 5

Hi all. I've been living on St. Thomas for a few months in a year long lease and believe that my landlord is breaking several code violations, but I can't find much online to help back up my suspicions. Any resources would be very much appreciated.

Some things that have happened that the landlord refuses to fix because it costs money:
- Major flooding from the upstairs for two months straight whenever it rains
- Flooding from a closed window pouring into an electrical outlet causing arcing electricity (VERY scary with puddles of water on the floor from said flooding)
- Exposed wires in at least three places, one of which is in a shower
- Intermittent (at best) hot water in the kitchen sink
- Non working shower in the second bathroom and no hot water at all in there
- Frequent ant, roach, and mice problems despite keeping our place clean, spraying for bugs, and putting out mouse traps ourselves (they refuse to treat for any vermin, but will allow us to at our expense)

Some things the landlord preoccupies himself with because they are "free":
- Painting our doors and shutters
- Reworking the garden (and disturbing all the ant colonies)
- Grouting the tile work on the upstairs pool

In addition to safety concerns, we were promised A/C, a working generator, and a generally finished apartment within a few months. We basically live in a construction zone and our landlord is working on something in our apartment everyday. We are reaching a point beyond frustration and just want to know what steps to take to make stuff get fixed in a reasonable time frame.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

Scubadoo
August 29, 2017 10:41PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,739

What's in your lease? Building codes are normally enforced during permit inspections, not at other times unless for a business. Short term rentals are considered a business but not long term. Someone else had a similar thread a few months back with comments. Apart from specific lease violations you may be out of luck.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?
avatar

Exit Zero
August 30, 2017 12:48AM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 2,209

Take lots of pictures and videos of all the problems. Document the expenses incurred by water.
Start looking for a new place to live.
Stop paying rent and establish an escrow account for it instead.
"promised AC etc." - unenforceable unless in writing
Explain to the landlord your concerns in writing - date it, make copies and have him sign them.
keep any correspondence between you and him in writing, texts, phone messages or document the conversation and have him sign the transcript.
After you have found a place to move to -- move out - if he decides to take you to small claims court make sure you have evidence of all the problems and attempted solution on your part..
I am not a lawyer - you might consult one formulating your plan - I am a landlord.
[Not yours]
You might go to DPNR and inquire about the building permit and CO for your apt. and explain the dangerous situation with electricity and ask for help or an inspection.

If my tenant had those problems and responded with the measures I mentioned I would be happy they were gone and change my ways before I got sued for an accident.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

Alana33
August 30, 2017 12:59AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,584

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

Wolverine888
August 30, 2017 06:10AM

Registered: 9 months ago
Posts: 108

Just two questions, if you don't mind answering, did you sign the lease sight-unseen, and monthly price point?

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

NorthsideKevin
August 30, 2017 08:26AM

Registered: 5 months ago
Posts: 43

Quote
Alana33
Move.

Best, most pragmatic advice posted. And you ain't even on Island.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

vicanuck
August 30, 2017 08:40AM

Registered: 7 years ago
Posts: 2,093

I second Alana...just move. It's highly unlikely your landlord will pursue you.

The VI is very transient. There no shortage of prospective tenants waiting to take your place.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

ConcernedTenant
August 30, 2017 10:08AM

Registered: 4 months ago
Posts: 5

Don't mind at all. We viewed the apartment once, where we did see things that were in progress, but we assured they would be finished within a reasonable time frame. That was our mistake not getting that in writing. Other things we have found along the way, like the exposed wiring and flooding after signing the lease. Monthly price is $3000 all utilities included, which is why I'm so frustrated at the lack of A/C and generator. Those were huge factors for me deciding to move into this place.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

ConcernedTenant
August 30, 2017 10:13AM

Registered: 4 months ago
Posts: 5

There is a very little in the lease (which is written for the state of Massachusetts) regarding construction, so again, our bad on not getting anything in writing. What I DO know is that they are violating Massachusetts safety and housing code, but I cannot find any similar resources for the VI.

I should also mention that my landlord is going through foreclosure, and we may not have this landlord for long. We're kind of waiting that out to see if the bank becomes our new landlord, if they try to buy out our lease, or what.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?
avatar

Exit Zero
August 30, 2017 02:37PM

Registered: 9 years ago
Posts: 2,209

$36,000 a year Rent - and you accept those problems?

My work is done here.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

Alana33
August 30, 2017 03:54PM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,584

Quote
Exit Zero
$36,000 a year Rent - and you accept those problems?

My work is done here.

thumbs up

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

ConcernedTenant
August 30, 2017 04:23PM

Registered: 4 months ago
Posts: 5

No, I don't accept it. Things were found after signing the lease that are unacceptable to us that I came here for some guidance on, not smug rubbing my face in the fact that I'm in a bum situation. I am aware of that.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

Scubadoo
August 30, 2017 06:12PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 1,739

Yup, collect the evidence and move on.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

Pdmargie
August 30, 2017 06:21PM

Registered: 3 years ago
Posts: 286

Collect the evidence. Take photos and video. Heck, with permission, record conversations with landlord. Get a lawyer, stop paying rent, as suggested place in escrow account, Sue to get your money back. Find new place to live. Not sure what the eviction laws are in the VI but in the States, the legal proceedings takes months.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

Alana33
August 31, 2017 01:37AM

Registered: 5 years ago
Posts: 11,584

Eviction proceedings can take forever here.
I just don't understand why, with all your complaints, you don't seem to wish to move.

Indeed, take pictures, document interaction in writing with landlord, go to small claims court, if necessary as well as things recommended by others above and move on.

Re: Landlord Breaking Safety Codes?

ConcernedTenant
August 31, 2017 10:12AM

Registered: 4 months ago
Posts: 5

Bottom line - we don't have the money right now to move. Thanks for the good advice!

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