"I moved into a new apartment, owned by a guy instead of a leasing company. I thought maybe a privately owned place would be better than renting from a big company when it came to getting repairs done.
"When I moved in, there were a few issues. The central heat wouldn't keep the apartment warm enough; it was dropping down to 64. The habitability requirements for my state are that the apartment has to be 68 or higher.
"The sink drain was clogged.
The carpets were stained even though there was supposed to be a professional carpet cleaning done before I moved in.
The oven only worked on 2 of 4 burners.
"I told my landlord about those issues and he said I should...
Wear warmer clothes, it's an old drafty building and they're difficult to heat in winter.
Give the sink more time to drain.
Just live with the carpet stains, it was sanitary because there had been a deep cleaning.
The oven would be expensive to replace, could I live with using the 2 burners?
I said no, I expected an apartment with working heat and appliances and expected it to have been cleaned as agreed on in the lease. I wanted the heat repaired and the oven repaired and the carpet properly cleaned or replaced.
"He said that I was asking for thousands to tens of thousands of dollars of work, and he couldn't afford it, the rental house was just his retirement income instead of a 401k, he wasn't running it like a business.
"And that my unit was only $600 a month, I wasn't getting 'luxury' for that price and it was ridiculous to expect it.
"I felt frustrated because when he wrote up a lease agreement it was a business. And the cost of rent has nothing to do with the other lease terms such as functional appliances. Also has nothing to do with the habitability laws; there's no law saying only expensive apartments have to be habitable! It applies to all!
"I got so frustrated I asked him to prove he did not have the money.
"If he wanted to beg brokeness, he could show me his wife and children wearing coats in his own house because he can't afford to heat his family home. He could show me his family struggling to cook dinner because their stove was half broken. He could show me random brown stains all over the ground.
"And if he wasn't living like that, he had no right to claim he couldn't afford to make the apartment livable.
"He got frustrated with me and said I had no right to demand to see into his private house.
I said he had an obligation to his tenants first, as soon as he decided to write up leases and rent to people. If he couldn't fulfill that obligation he needed to cut costs at home, not cut costs on contractually agreed upon terms with me.
"And that I'd be withholding my rent unless he could either bring the apartment to a livable standard or prove financial difficulties to a reasonable level.
"He said I was being unreasonable, and I said I was being very reasonable and I was holding him to the terms of the lease he wrote, and the laws of our state.
"And if those terms couldn't be fulfilled I would be withholding rent. I was being more than fair by offering leniency if he truly was suffering financially and could show me."