I am renting a house in Aston township and find out that the house has no certificate of occupancy

Asked by Jennifer Szabo, 19363 Wed Sep 24, 2008

I am renting a house in Aston and found out that the landlord never had a C O for the house. I want to get out of my lease because there are just to many repairs to be done live loose wires in the basement along with leaks a rotting deck that someone could fall through broken or missing windows etc. I have asked him to let me out of the lease he said no now he is taking me to court tomorrow to make me pay and all I want is to get out I need any advice from anyone who has been through this also don't rent from Griffith Memorial. Please help I am nervous about court thanks

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Sean Brown, , 23434
Thu Sep 25, 2008
I am a codes inspector. First regarding the C.O. if one was never issued then you will want to let your local building official know so that from a code standpoint they can ensure that it meets all building code requirements. Typically, you will not be evicted just because a C.O. has not been issued unless there is a threat to life or health which from your message that may be the case. The codes department will issue a notice of violation for correction. Regardless of the lease provisions for who will conduct repairs typically the "owner" is held liable for repairs. Your local codes office can you give you some direction. I am not an attorney but from expericence in my field the judge will not side with you for not paying rent because of the homes conditions. Typically, a person would set up an an escrow account with the courts and escrow the rent until such items are fixed.
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Andy Raffle, , Yardley, PA
Wed Sep 24, 2008
I am not an attorney nor have I ever played one on TV. I suugest you speak to somebody who has.

Here's what I do know, Paragraph 10 of the PAR lease reads as follows:
67 (A) Tenant may move in (take possession of the Property) on the Start Date of this Lease.
69 (B) If Tenant cannot move in within days after Start Date because the previous tenant is still there or because of property damage, Tenant's exclusive rights are to:
71 1. Change the starting date of the Lease to the day when Property is available. Tenant will not owe rent until Property is available; OR
73 2. End the Lease and have all money already paid as rent or security deposit returned, with no further liability on the part of Landlord or Tenant.

Again, I think you need to speak with an attorney about this but, it COULD be that without a C of O, you cannot take posession of the property.... Looks like a potential out to me. I WOULD NOT speak to any code enforcement officer or anybody else before speaking with an attorney. The code enforcement officer may just say, "yea, you're not supposed to be there. Move out". Unless you're prepared for that, speak to somebody first.

I think, btw, that the landlord is in a pretty weak position. I've been a landlord for a long time, for a lot of tennants and I would NEVER let myself get in such a compromised spot.

Hope htis helps,

Andy Raffle
Web Reference:  http://www.AskAndyRaffle.com
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Brian Ryan, , Springfield, PA
Wed Sep 24, 2008
Jennifer, I am guessing you have withheld rent? I agree with Scott. You need to speak with an attorney. Take lots of pictures with you. Have you called Aston's Municipal Building. Talk to their Code Enforcer. Administration number is 610.494.1636. They will direct you. Call me if I can help. Don't be nervouse about court. The District Justice is there to help you.
Their website is: http://www.astontownship.net/AstonGovSite/default.htm
Good Luck
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Wed Sep 24, 2008
your best bet is to have an attorney who can advise you, if you can not afford it, bring lots of pictures and evidence to court. take pictures of everything wrong, bring a copy of the notice there is no co and maybe even print up the law requiring a landlord to have one. good luck
Web Reference:  http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
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