ToGerald WallaceAttorney for Downtown Landover Apartments REF: MS. PAT SHEPP – 100 DOWNTOWN LANDOVER APARTMENTS, APT. F2 We are under instructions from our client Pat Shepp to address you as follows:On November 27, 2017, Pat Shepp was personally served with a Complaint for Failure to Pay Rent and breach of lease.
She admits that no rent has been paid for two months, but states that she withheld the rent because of dangerous housing conditions. Ms. Shepp said that she delivered a letter to the landlord approximately two months ago, September 2017, stating that she was not going to pay rent until the defects and dangerous conditions were remedied. Ms. Shepp moved into her apartment approximately one year ago, September 25, 2016. Prior to moving into her apartment, she noticed numerous defects. However, she moved into the apartment because she was desperate to find a home for her children and herself.Ms.
Shepp feels that she should not have to pay rent because of the following conditions:a) the kitchen sink clogs regularly and the water leaks from the pipes and the disposal does workb) the toilet in the hallway bathroom leaves waste matter in the toilet for extended periods of timec) there is a leak from the apartment above, causing all rooms to have rotten floorboards—several boards are so rotten that Ms. Shepp’ youngest child fell through the floor on July 5, 2017The landlord is claiming breach of lease by our client by not paying her rent. According to Maryland law, a tenant is allowed to withhold rent if the client has made every effort to notify the landlord of the dangerous housing conditions.
Pat Shepp wrote to the landlord two months ago on the conditions of her apartment. The landlord has not made any attempt to fix the damages. According to law, the landlord was given sufficient notice. The failure of our client to pay rent is premised on the fact that the landlord has failed time and time again to adhere to the pleas of Ms.
Pat. In Brown v. Housing Opportunities Comm., 350 Md. 570, 714 A.2d 197 (1998), not all cases that qualify for eviction will be ruled with common law remedies of eviction. Some equity measures that involve negotiated agreement on repayment of rent debt have been mentioned. Equity states that ‘he who comes into equity must come with clean hands.
‘ The landlord has not done his duty to make the necessary repairs and provide a safe living environment for our client, Ms. Pat.The client would want a court of law to open a rent escrow account. She will pay rent into it as she gives the landlord time to fix the apartment. According to MD Code, Real Property, § 8-211 it states that there are special conditions under which an escrow account can be opened. These conditions are serious conditions or defects.
In our client’s case, they include1) The toilet does not flush, making it smell bad. These are unhygienic conditions that present a health hazard to our client and her children.(2) The ceiling leaks have made the floorboards rot.
This resulted in Ms. Pat’s daughter falling through and in the process fractured her foot. This is a serious physical threat to the occupants.
3) The kitchen sink clogs regularly and the water leaks from the pipes and the disposal don’t work. The leaking water has made it impossible for Ms. Pat to carpet the floors as it would be ruined.The landlord is aware of the clogged toilet, the leaking pipes, and the rotting board floors and has not done anything about it. The court would be within its rights to establish an escrow account.Furthermore, under section 8-204, the landlord has to compensate the tenant of arising expenses due to his or her failures and negligence. Opting for an escrow account arises only if the court becomes convinced that the defect stated is a threat to life, safety, or health which with our client’s situation it is.
The money gets refunded to our client in case the landlord does not have the repairs done as directed by court. The landlord has further made an application for eviction based on a noise complaint. Two witnesses, Mr. Gerald Whitaker and Mrs. Rebecca Whitaker have supported the complaint. Our client cannot carpet her house due to the leaking pipes and rotting floorboards. She would like to carpet her house but it would be counterproductive to end up with a soggy carpet all the time.
She would need to replace it often. The likely hood of the children getting sick due to the wet carpet would also increase tenfold. All the issues herein would be remedied if the landlord does his job of fixing the apartment. We urge you to speak to your client to carry out the necessary repairs. Your client is responsible for the deplorable conditions in the apartments and has taken no steps to rectify the situation despite notices of the defects.Thank you for your anticipated attention to this matter.Very truly yours,Attorney for Pat Shepp