MURRAY – It’s a disgusting, pungent problem for a Murray woman. Raw sewage flowed into her apartment, and she doesn’t believe the landlord is doing much to fix the mess.
Some attorneys say tenants don’t have as many options as they may think.
“It smells absolutely awful,” says Clover Creek resident Kellie Wright.
She says the problem started Wednesday night. Her neighbor’s water heater blew up which caused a series of problems. Soon enough, waste started coming up from the toilet, spreading to the kitchen floor and into her daughter’s room. She adds that it also got all over the carpets and onto her furniture.
“It’s going through the walls, ruining everything.”
Wright says the apartment manager has provided her with some help, like suctioning out the water and cleaning the carpets. However, the stench is still there and she questions if it’s safe to stay there. Some attorneys say she has the option of paying for the repairs herself, then asking for those expenses to be taken off her rent, but, she feels she shouldn’t be required to do that.
“I don’t feel like, financially, I should have to pay someone to come move it. I don’t even feel I should [use] my renters insurance. I feel like it should be something they’re offering,” Wright says.
Even if she were to take her landlords to court, there’s a chance she would lose. Attorney Martin Blaustein says most of the contracts tenants sign are written to favor apartment owners, plus, “The laws in Utah are pretty-one-sided in favor of landlords.”
One thing a tenant is never allowed to do is not pay rent, even if conditions are bad.
“If you do, you’re going to get an eviction action. You’re going to be kicked out of your place before the issue of the conditions of the premises are argued before the court,” Blaustein says.
(Contributing: Tania Dean, KSL TV)
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