How to sue if I'm living with no water?
Question Details: I've been living in my townhome for 2 years. About 4 months after the first year it was sold to a new property management company. During that time our water was cut off we contacted water shed they said the property management team needed to put the water in their name because we were having illegal use she. We contacted them and told them they said they would handle it. Last month we had another issue with the pipes out front busted I called water shed they said the same thing, so we called the property management again they said they would handle it. On 10/09 or water was cut off and we were told that we won't have water in our unit until 10/16. This is unacceptable we have 2 small kids, 9 months and 2 years old. Is there anything that we can do?
This situation is generally handled one of three ways:
1) You can withhold rent during the time you don't have water, to force them to restore it, since a failure to provide water violates the "implied warranty of habitability," or legal obligation to rent you space fit to be lived in. The landlord will then typically try to evict you for nonpayment; in the eviction case, you will defend yourself on the basis that you did not have water and so not a habitable space. The court will generally order the landlord to restore water and will typically order that you pay some of the withheld rent to the landlord while letting you keep a portion to compensate for living without water. You would have to have all the withheld rent available the day of trial to deposit (escrow) with the court until the court decides the matter and who gets what.
2) Similar to the above, you can withhold from rent any amounts you had to pay due to not having water (e.g. if you had to stay in a hotel; if you had to buy bottled water; etc.). Then if/when the landlord tries to evict for nonpayment, you again raise the lack of water as a justification for the withholding.
3) You can sue in small claims court for any actual, provable losses or costs you incurred.