Justice Metered: A tenant stands up to her dishonest landlord

Our client is the mother of three teenage children. She is also living with HIV and is a recent cancer survivor. She contacted us after she became suspicious her landlord was taking advantage of her.

She had signed a lease agreeing to pay one third of the water bill for the three story building, which only had one meter. The other rental apartment and the landlord’s business office were supposed to be responsible for the remainder.

Although initially our client paid what the landlord told her, after a few months she became concerned she was paying for more than her share. After her landlord failed to respond to her numerous requests for copies of her water bill, she realized she needed legal help.

After multiple requests by our office, her landlord finally provided copies of the bills. Our analysis showed that she was being charged for balances accrued before she was a tenant, as well as a period in which the other rental was empty.
The AIDS Law Project’s advocacy resulted in her landlord agreeing to deduct $300 from her $750 rent. The client was very happy to have her money returned to her, especially because she had decided not to renew her lease and needed money for moving expenses.

The client recently moved into her new apartment and called to let us know how much she appreciated our help. We are happy that we could help her stand up to her landlord and hope she and her family are enjoying their new home.