Raise my rent when water is contaminated?

By Chris

June 29th I ordered 250 gallon propane to put in the LP tank(1000 gallon tank) putting it at 25%. Couple weeks later I noticed it was leaking. It was between 17 and 18%. Called FS and they fixed it. They said 18% equals 180 gallons, so I lost 70 gallons of LP equal to $140.00. I told the landlord about it and that is when I found out she owned the tank, and she said she was the one liable, but she did not reimburse me.

I started moving my stuff in with approval of the landlord. House was still full. It was supposed to of been cleaned out. Had only 2 rooms(bedrooms) to put things in. I told the landlord, and she said to go ahead and move my stuff in so it would make her daughter hurry up and get her stuff moved out.

I moved into my rental home on July 1st. 2011. Rent was agreed at $500 a month. I did not know that the water in the house was not consumable until I started to move my things in and was trying to hook up the cook stove. We helped take out the stove that was in the house, as landlords daughter(part owner of house) said the oven did not work and they were just going to throw it away. I was led to believe that the water was to be fixed right away. It is spring water and there is no filter system on it all. Landlord told me she was not worried about money for a deposit, she was just glad to rent to someone she knew. The deposit was waived due to my daughter working so hard helping Landlords daughter clean the mess up. My Daughter and Landlords daughter are good friends. There are still stains all over the carpets and writing on the walls from landlords daughter’s kids, and the master bathroom had a black build up in the toilet. Landlords daughter  did not get all her things out of the house until around the 3rd weekend of July. I had to sit all of my garage stuff outside on the patio and then re-move everything to the garage when it was finally empty. Had to store the washer and dryer in the basement because landlords daughter did not take hers out like I was told she would.

August 2nd my daughter and grand kids moved in, due to marital problems and abuse. I could not catch the landlord at home, so I called her and she said she was coming over around the 8th to go over the rental contract, so I could just wait and pay her the rent then.

August 8th When the landlord came over I told her about my daughter moving in, and her response was, “Oh, well, it is still cleaner than when my daughter and the kids lived here”, and went on saying that she knew my daughter was having problems and was better off with him. She did not seem to care. I then gave her the rent check and we went over the rental contract. Rent was agreed at $500 a month on the 1st of each month, to be reviewed annually. The contract was only partially signed, only the part of the rent amount was initialed and signed. Landlord wanted to redo the rest of the contract as there were things in it she wanted to take out. She said she just wanted a simple contract. She never did redo it. (Landlord took that copy of the contract.) Landlord took samples of the water and sent it in.

September 2nd I went over to landlords house and paid half the rent, asked if it was OK if we paid the rest later on the 15th when we got paid again. She said it would be OK this time, but after that she wanted it all on the 1st of each month. We talked about the water and she said it was contaminated with ecoli and bacteria and not to drink it. She suggested we put a tablespoon of bleach in the water when the kids took baths. Stated the filter system she needed for the water was going to cost around $800 for which she did not have the money right now.

On September 11th , Landlord dropped by to get a couple of red bricks. She said she was doing some landscaping outside at her house and needed them. I told her they were stacked up outside the garage. She got upset and said, “You mean you put them outside?!” I replied “Well…yea…” I did not know what the big deal was, they were just bricks. She spun around, got her bricks, and left without saying another word. The approx. 400 bricks had been stacked in the garage, but we put them outside because we needed the room. I was not told I had to keep them stored inside the garage.

September 13th, Landlord came by and rings the doorbell. I open the door and let her in. She was all upset and said, “Ya know….we are just not getting off to a good start…I wrote a new lease and I want $650 a month for rent and a $500 deposit to cover your daughter’s kids because kids can tear up a lot of things. I am not happy that your and the kids are here. After your daughter and the kids move out, the rent will lower to $500 .” She said she would be back on the 15th so we could all sit and sign it.

On September 15th Rest of the rent was paid. Landlord comes over a 5pm to go over the new lease. A friend of hers was there two to be a witness and to control the peace. I told her I was not signing because we had already agreed to the amount of $500. She said it was not valid and that the back page was not signed.  After the landlord left, the friend stayed and visited for a while. He agreed with us, that the landlord did this because she was mad about the bricks being moved out of the garage.

September 19th. Around 2pm landlord delivered a notice of “Failure to sign a lease” and picked up an old water filter that used to be used on the water in the house. The Notice was in two parts. Notice one demanded the new lease be signed by October 1st to reflect the new occupancy of the additional tenants and accordingly increase the rent from $500 to $650. Move in deposit was waived. But, is now requesting another deposit.

Notice two: This is to inform you to move the brick siding needed for repairs to the house back to their original place in the garage and out of the outside elements. Also, the remaining personal property left with the house will be identified, listed in the proper storage area, and initial on the new lease.

It stated that if I fail to respond or comply, eviction proceeding will be started.

I did not want to be evicted, and did not feel I had a choice, so I agreed to sign the lease and had to pay the $650 rent on October 1st . I also had to agree to a $25 a month deposit due on the 15th of each month for a year, which was in the new lease, even though it was not requested of me prior to moving in. I have not yet paid due to lack of funds. Total of $675 month. Landlord admitted to me when signing the contract that what triggered her to change the contract was due to the fact that we moved the bricks outside of the garage. She said she had been stressed for some time now, dealing with the water ways on the farmland and trying to make changes to the deed to the property, that the bricks just set her off and she blew up.

The water is still not fixed, I have to buy my water by the gallon in order to have consumable water. I have a 4, 5 and 8 year old in the house. I do not feel that I should have to store her personal items in the house, whether in specified areas or not, nor be responsible for them. I should have full access to the property I rent. Those items consist of around 20 gallons of paint, 2 approx. 4 ft. long boxes of floor tile, paint rollers, brushes, towel rack paint thinner, etc. The bricks are red bricks the house was built with.

I do not want evicted, but I do not feel this rent increase is legal or proper. In fact, I feel a rent decrease is more appropriate or refund. I was not given a 30 day notice and water is not fixed. Landlord has had plenty of time to fix the water.

Several weeks ago, Landlord told me someone would be over on Friday to fix the water. No one showed up and I haven’t heard another word about it.

Also, I lost around 70 gallons of propane from the owner tank, for which I have not been reimbursed. Who is liable? I was informed after I found out that the tank was leaking, that the landlords daughter had lost a whole tank of propane prior to me moving in.

I live in the state of Illinois. 

Can I pro-rate my next payment of rent beings I didn’t get a 30 day notice? Is it even legal to raise the rent due to the water problem?

Can I get reduced rent or maybe even a refund for the rent due to the circumstances above? Is this new contract even legal? Can I be charged a deposit when it was waved before I moved in? Under the circumstances, can it be considered retaliation? There is no documentation of condition of rental house upon moving in, as landlord did not do a walk about as she said she would. Do I have to store her personal things since I am renting the house? Do I have to move due to the water problem if it is reported.

Edited on: Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 10:56 am

One Response to “Raise my rent when water is contaminated?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


October 26th, 2011 4:51 pm

On August 8th post, I meant to say the landlord said my daughter was better off without him….not with him.


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