Info on Tenants Rig...
 

Info on Tenants Rights in USVI  

 

Fingers Crossed
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April 1, 2013 11:53 am  

Does anyone know where I can find info on tenant rights in the USVI? We've been having some conflicts with our landlord which are not expressly defined in our lease, and I've had trouble finding anything related to tenant rights online.

Thanks!


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speee1dy
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April 1, 2013 12:05 pm  

someone not too long ago had an issue and posted a question here. maybe within the last 6 months?? would be worth a search in the archives


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picaflores
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conchadoo
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April 1, 2013 12:44 pm  

www.visuperiorcourt.org or www.lexisnexis.com


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Fingers Crossed
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April 1, 2013 8:06 pm  

Thanks for the suggestions. I had seen the previous inquiry in the forum and checked out the links provided but couldn't find information that specifically addressed my concerns.

Are landlords required to provide a locked residence? Some of the doors lock, but there is no way to lock our house up.
We do not have a phone line in to our house.
Is the landlord allowed to enter the premises without notifying the tenant?
Is there a timeframe within which the landlord must respond to the tenant regarding concerns?

Please let me know if you have answers to any of these questions or know where I can find them.

Thanks much!


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rotorhead
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April 1, 2013 8:32 pm  

You want Title 28 of the VI Code.
http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/vicode/

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speee1dy
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April 1, 2013 10:21 pm  

last i heard a landlord had to give 24 hour notice to enter and i would expect they have to provide a safe living condition ( locking doors )
but i am no lawyer


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Fingers Crossed
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April 1, 2013 11:51 pm  

I've looked through that section and can't find anything that pertains specifically to my circumstance. My landlord has entered the premises without permission or notice at least once, and has not provided locks on all of the doors in addition to other complaints. Do you know of any place I can find information addressing specifics?

Thanks!


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OldTart
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April 2, 2013 12:26 am  

Thanks for the suggestions. I had seen the previous inquiry in the forum and checked out the links provided but couldn't find information that specifically addressed my concerns.

Are landlords required to provide a locked residence? Some of the doors lock, but there is no way to lock our house up.
We do not have a phone line in to our house.
Is the landlord allowed to enter the premises without notifying the tenant?
Is there a timeframe within which the landlord must respond to the tenant regarding concerns?

Please let me know if you have answers to any of these questions or know where I can find them.

Thanks much!

I can't help with citing relevant sections of the VI laws and I suggest you talk to someone at Legal Aid to guide you but there are universal US laws pertaining to landlord tenant responsibilities which I've found are subscribed to and upheld by the VI courts.

1. Yes. The rental premises should be properly secure with exterior working locks to which the tenant is provided keys.

2. I don't know if this is specifically addressed or that it's illegal not to have the premises wired.. I've rented several places where either a phone line is non-existent or a phone line is non-operational. I rely on a landline so in such cases I've paid for the installation myself and just the basic installation charge has been the same whether no line or a non-operational line is there.

3. A landlord is not permitted to enter the rented premises without minimum 24 hours to the tenant unless in case of emergency.

4. There's not one state in the US whose landlord tenant laws don't require that any concerns should be put in writing to the LL and sent to him preferably by USPS return receipt certified mail. The reason for this is that even if the LL either refuses the mail or simply doesn't pick it up, the certified mail receipt is proof that delivery was attempted. USPS will return the mailing to you and you should keep it unopened in case you need it for a court case. Where a request is made for necessary repairs, the LL is obligated to have those repairs taken care of within a reasonable time frame. "Reasonable" is discretionary but if the repairs are such that lack of response poses a health or sanitary risk, you can contact the Heath Department and notify them of the problem and they're mandated to check it.

I'd add too that if you have a verbal discussion with the LL about things that need to be done, you follow it up with a confirming email or text and hold onto all that communication whether it's answered or not.

Hope that helps.


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Fingers Crossed
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April 2, 2013 1:06 am  

This helps a lot! Thanks so much!

Thanks for the suggestions. I had seen the previous inquiry in the forum and checked out the links provided but couldn't find information that specifically addressed my concerns.

Are landlords required to provide a locked residence? Some of the doors lock, but there is no way to lock our house up.
We do not have a phone line in to our house.
Is the landlord allowed to enter the premises without notifying the tenant?
Is there a timeframe within which the landlord must respond to the tenant regarding concerns?

Please let me know if you have answers to any of these questions or know where I can find them.

Thanks much!

I can't help with citing relevant sections of the VI laws and I suggest you talk to someone at Legal Aid to guide you but there are universal US laws pertaining to landlord tenant responsibilities which I've found are subscribed to and upheld by the VI courts.

1. Yes. The rental premises should be properly secure with exterior working locks to which the tenant is provided keys.

2. I don't know if this is specifically addressed or that it's illegal not to have the premises wired.. I've rented several places where either a phone line is non-existent or a phone line is non-operational. I rely on a landline so in such cases I've paid for the installation myself and just the basic installation charge has been the same whether no line or a non-operational line is there.

3. A landlord is not permitted to enter the rented premises without minimum 24 hours to the tenant unless in case of emergency.

4. There's not one state in the US whose landlord tenant laws don't require that any concerns should be put in writing to the LL and sent to him preferably by USPS return receipt certified mail. The reason for this is that even if the LL either refuses the mail or simply doesn't pick it up, the certified mail receipt is proof that delivery was attempted. USPS will return the mailing to you and you should keep it unopened in case you need it for a court case. Where a request is made for necessary repairs, the LL is obligated to have those repairs taken care of within a reasonable time frame. "Reasonable" is discretionary but if the repairs are such that lack of response poses a health or sanitary risk, you can contact the Heath Department and notify them of the problem and they're mandated to check it.

I'd add too that if you have a verbal discussion with the LL about things that need to be done, you follow it up with a confirming email or text and hold onto all that communication whether it's answered or not.

Hope that helps.


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Alana33
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April 2, 2013 11:20 am  

Depends what your lease states.

If it doesn't state in your lease that the landlord has to give you 24 hr. notice, he may not have to, altho it would be the courteous thing to do.

A landlord is not obligated to provide you with phone service or line. A tenant would normally pay for any utility they require, including installation, service and deposit fees of such.

As far as not being able to lock your door, you should ask LL to provide that (it is his obligation) or purchase a new lock, install it and give landlord the spare key. Ask if you can deduct that expense from your rental amount. In this day and age, we all need to be able to lock our doors.

If you are going back and forth about these issues, make sure everything is in writing and if doing so over the phone: list dates and times of calls and what is discussed, length of time, etc. If you have to go to Small Claims Court in the matter, you will need a paper trail. Take pics as well. OT's response to #4 is right on.

If not happy, check lease for what your obligations are regarding early breaking the lease and find a new place to move.
Good Luck. Document everything.


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OldTart
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April 2, 2013 12:02 pm  

Depends what your lease states.

If it doesn't state in your lease that the landlord has to give you 24 hr. notice, he may not have to, altho it would be the courteous thing to do..

Although this is state-specific it's been universal in the many state landlord tenant laws I've read. I quite recently posed the question to a VI attorney familiar with landlord/tenant laws following a related incident and he assured me that this is also upheld in the VI. Unless in case of emergency a LL must give sufficient advance notice to a tenant before accessing the premises as a tenant is entitled to the expectation of privacy.


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STXBob
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April 2, 2013 12:26 pm  

Regarding suing the landlord: A lawsuit, or a threat of one, will lead to a very adverse relationship. If you plan to stay with the landlord, then try to work it out amicably and reasonably. And I would still document everything.


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mtdoramike
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April 3, 2013 5:07 pm  

Do yourself a favor and just move. It would make life a lot easier for you in the long run.


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A Davis
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Posts: 687
April 6, 2013 3:12 pm  

from what you say here, this does not sound like a good match. it's low season coming, places to stay getting easier to find... i'd be looking for another place. yuck.

best to you,
anita.
"do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind."
--- scott nearing


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