I will try and keep this brief!
I moved into an apartment last May (2006) and in November my son became very ill with his asthma. He spent a week in the hospital after a very frightening round with his asthma which flared fast and suddenly. When he came home he did not continue to improve he started getting worse again. I had to send him to stay with my parents so that he could recover. His doctor felt it must be environmental and upon learning the only change was that we'd moved, he suggested we had a mold issue.
I had our apartment maintenance check an area in the apartment (a crawl space in son's bedroom that went into and under tub and pipes) and explained how ill my son was etc and that doctor felt it was probably due to mold. Apartment mgr said there was no mold but did feel there might be minimal issues in son's bedroom and offered to paint with some type special paint. Long short my son's health improved at my parent's and he came home and finally returned to school. However, in January he bacame very ill again and was put on home based services for school and was staying with my parents on and off.
I had done my homework on mold by then and discovered we had extensive mold issues behind radiators, around windows and in bathroom and since then probably much more extensive. I asked apartment maintenance to come look again and the maintenance person said he knew nothing about mold etc. So I eventually called the management group that my rent is paid to and explained all of the problems and at first was told the problem would be looked into and addressed. However, this was not the case and then I was sent letters stating that there were not any mold issues here, and other misc nonsense which I responded back and forth in writing to.
Now they did acknowledge that I'd come to them starting in December with this problem. They also stated that I could vacate the apartment and my lease which they stated they never do! Then they also sent letter informing me my lease would not be renewed. I started looking for a new place in March but it's hard trying to find a place in new school district (didn't want to move son to a new district as he's done beautifully here after all his past years in a horrible school district etc.) I informed the apartment management group that I was looking for a place and hoped to be out by lease term end and also that I still wanted mold addressed and would hold rent in escrow as I'd been informed I could do legally - informally).
I had proof rent was in escrow and did actually pay one of the two months in escrow prior to my eviction hearing held 2 weeks ago. Although I lost the eviction hearing the district justice was very nice and did an explanation on filing civil suit etc and did not tack on late charges the apartment management group was asking for. However, I feel that I should not have lost this hearing as I had plenty of documentation noting my issues with the mold, the letters from landlord and how the tone changed and there refusal to address the matter, my son's and my health issues, etc. I am waiting on more specific mold testing to be completed even as I type this as far as civil matters go.
Had I not complained about the mold and requested it be addressed this wouldn't have happened. I was considered a "good tenant" up until I insisted the mold issues be addressed. I have been looking for a new place and have even started looking outside school district and it's been very difficult as my ex husband trashed our finances through a two year long divorce that was finalized last July. It makes this issue even harder.
The district justice said that if the landlord didn't want to renew the lease, the way the lease was written that there was nothing I can do. I don't want to stay but do need to find a new place. I have the money to do so, however, I need more than the 8 days I have left!! I was told by district justice I could appeal the decision but I'd lose and to consider filing civil suit (or that I could have file cross complaint and he wasn't happy finding in landlord's favor or that was my impression) and he'd never heard of holding rent in escrow as acceptable so I gave him all my info from PA Bar etc & did have proof of monies in bank as escrowed monies for rent. I believe this whole action was retaliatory eviction.
I have 8 days and my son and I will have no where to live! and no where to go! Is it possible to appeal once the Order for Possession is filed and served? Is there anything I can do to buy a bit more time? Also the apartment manager had come to see me Friday and stated provided I paid judgement (one months rent and court costs & May rent as I requested in letter to management group) I could stay through June 28th but they would not give me anything in writing. This was prior to being served with Order for Possession.
I've since sent off a letter saying that this now makes it impossible for me to do without them rescinding this Order of Possession as I could pay up all this money and still be locked out on 5/15/2007 and with nothing I could do about the matter. I will not even speculate as to what their intentions are in telling me this and what would actually occur on 5/15/2007 but it seems to me this would be a suicidal thing to do!! I should have lab test results within a week on the actual mold sample testing etc but that won't help me for the short term but perhaps will in a civil suit.
I'm so disgusted and terrified at this point!! I had more than my fair share of disillusionment with our legal system through the divorce with being the party with no financial means and have just finally started getting back on my feet financially due to employment and paying off old stuff etc. I've done nothing wrong other than to ask my landlord to address a serious health related issue in my apartment. Which is how I termed my holding funds in escrow under the matter of warranty of habitability. They had at one point after that sent me letter telling me they were looking into matter, that's it!
RisingUp in PA