In May 2013, I moved into a room for rent to leave a verbally abusive roommate. My previous councilor found a new house for me to help escape from my abusive roommate.
I lived there for a year and a half. All did not go well. It was a case of landlord negligence. It was my mistake in moving there. Who knew what it would be like? I thought the landlord would be honest.
My landlord would ban my staff, even when I needed them for my every day life.
He never fixed stuff when it broke down.
He took a long time to trim the shrubbery around my door.
Paper cups were everywhere in the kitchen. I was told not to throw them away because the landlord said they belonged to a roommate.
When my family saw this, it really made me look bad. It was as if I chose the wrong place to live.
Your house or where you live says a lot about you. This was disgraceful!
Debt collection becomes harassment
One day, the landlord gathered me and all the other roommates around the kitchen. He told about the high water bill. He told us that it would be split between the three of us.
However, he got my roommates to sign something saying that I used up all the water!
My rep-payee looked into this. According to my landlord, he owns three houses where he rents rooms. Where I lived, the water bill was higher than the three.
The real reason it was so high was because of a leaky toilet. That’s right, a leaky toilet!
You know and I know, it was his responsibility.
Disrespect leads to action
My landlord constantly hounded me about the bill.
He would come into my house in the middle of the night and demand it!
He would always send texts about me paying the bill, even when I was out-of-town. He would get me when I got back from the movies. He kept minding my business.
He would even go as far as to take it from of my rent money, which is illegal! He tried to use it against me for when I did not have my rent.
He roared down the driveway like it was a speedway. It was a good thing that one of my counselors was here to moderate the situation.
He tried to evict me prematurely by giving me a seven-day notice. By law, he would have to give me 30 days to leave the property.
I resigned the lease that May for six months. I left at the end of October. The wrongful eviction papers he had were bogus and not legal documents.
Gone to trial
Then a year later, the trial began at the housing committee.
My support team and I were dressed up. The landlord was barely dressed at all. He wore a sports coat, shirt and a pair of jeans.
He brought my roommates to testify as witnesses against me.
I sued him for my security deposit, he countersued me for damages to the house.
My team and I made sure the room was right where I left it before it moved out.
According to the law, the landlord had 45 days to report any damages. He did not.
The trial began when the lawyer reported the landlord scratched things out of the eviction papers and wrote over them.
The landlord represented himself because he knows a lot about the tenant laws. Well, the housing committee knows them, too!
The lawyer pointed out that he was breaking every rule in the book. The landlord talked and talked, dragging the case on. It was almost midnight when it ended.
The housing committee knew that he wasn’t a good person. I had to wait 45 days for the results. The landlord was found guilty, and I won the case in my favor.
He has filed for an appeal. It just goes to show that some people are sore losers.
I will be ready when the case goes to court. I beat him once, and I will do it again!
Tony Sampson is a graduate of Leaders in Disability Policy and a former member of the Maryland Disabilities Council. He works at Home Depot. Tony writes about human rights, equality in the work force, voting for people with disabilities and equal education for people who are disabled.