3 ON YOUR SIDE: Landlord won't fix tenant's septic problem
One local woman is in a stinky living situation after a sewage back up, and she wants it resolved.
Tuesday, July 8th 2014, 10:38 pm EDT
One local woman is in a stinky living situation after a sewage back up, and she wants it resolved. She says she's had no help from the landlord.
"There are times you walk out the door and it will take your breath. You'll be walking to your car and it will take your breath. You are sitting in the car and it will take your breath," said Janice Davis.
A smell so bad, Davis says she's ready to move out.
"I can't stay here with this smell, I just can't," said Davis.
She's asked her landlord every month for nearly three years to fix the issue involving her septic tank only to hear. "I'll be up right away to fix it, right after I come back from being out of town I will fix it, when it stops raining. Just month after month after month," said Davis.
Davis says she has no lease agreement, but doesn't believe it's her responsibility to pay for it.
"I don't think it's right for me to have to do major work and then pay him rent on top of that," said Davis.
The Tennessee Department of Health's website says if your rental home needs an emergency repair to keep it healthy a tenant can use some of the rent money to make the immediate repairs.
Davis says she suggested that to the landlord, but was told no.
"He said don't touch my property, don't tell me what to do, I know the law," said Davis.
We looked up the Landlord and Tenant Act, which says a landlord must comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes affecting health and safety and make all repairs to keep the premises in good condition.
He came up once, she says to pour lime into the standing water under the house and to break a hole into the foundation to let the water leak out.
"It stopped flooding after he did that, but the smell has never gone away," said Davis.
But she claims the septic tank is too small for the size of the house it's supporting and with the sewer water all over her back yard, she's worried about the health of her grand babies that play outside.
"She's coughing and throwing up, out of the blue she'll wake up from sleeping and will throw up," said Davis.
Davis says she doesn't want to move, but if something isn't done she will.
"That's all I want is for it to be fixed because I don't want to be sick and I definitely don't want my grand babies to be sick," said Davis.
We reached out to the landlord several times but were unable to reach him.
We spoke with a local attorney who says renters and landlords should look to have some sort of written agreement so when situations like this one arise, they know whose shoulders it falls on.
He also said if someone is living in un-livable conditions the tenant has the right to move out and not pay the rent.