The landlord of the building that I live in has not paid his water bill to the city and the tenants have received notice that the water will be turned off as of March 1. I may pregnant single mother, seven months into my term of a high risk pregnancy and I’m confined to bed rest. I have no idea what to do, if the water is turned off I will not have water to bathe, to flush the toilet or to cook food for myself or drink. Is there anything I can do, can a landlord legally do that when water is part of what I pay rent for? I have no idea what to do and have no one who can help me, what are my legal rights?
In this situation you have a lot of different ways to receive help, as there are numerous violations in the facts you have provided for me. First of all this is a violation of your Civil Rights and goes directly against the Fair Housing Act, which is federal law. The fact that you are a single mother and temporarily disabled by your pregnancy, makes this particular matter fall under civil rights under both federal and state law. We would file a complaint with the proper government agency and handle this matter primarily as a civil rights violation, as this has the most strength for you to receive damages. The next thing to do is to deal with the actual situation administratively, by going to your local board of health and reporting this violation. A landlord cannot allow the premises that he is renting, to be uninhabitable. Certainly not having water to eat, they’ve, drink and go to the bathroom makes your residence uninhabitable and is both a health code violation and a civil rights violation. In the final thing we would do would be to bring this case in front of the housing court, after the civil rights violation has been filed and the Board of Health has been contacted. With this information and the state housing laws that have been violated, we would use this to force your landlord to pay the water bill, so it does not get turned off. You may be in a situation where your landlord is being foreclosed upon and he feels as if he’s just not going to pay for the utilities she’s responsible for, that is simply not the case and he needs to pay for those utilities, especially since you’re still paying him rent. Water bills even though they may be high, with easily be covered by one months rent, even if it was several months behind.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
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