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Bathroom Renovations  



I live in WV. Our landlord has given notice that our only bathroom is being completely renovated next week and we will not have an operable bathroom for up to 4 days.

We have 4 children and 2 adults. This poses a number of issues aside from the inconvenience of not having a bathroom for 4 days but also keeping our young children away from any dangerous tools, having everyone in the house exposed to the dust and mold that will be stirred up during the process, my husband works night shifts and sleeps during the morning hours while they will be here working. I breast feed an infant and don't want men in and out of the house all day while I am feeding the baby.

Do we have the right to tell them they cannot come in and do the renovations?


I am a landlord, not an attorney, so the following is just my opinion. I do not own rental property in WV, so I am not familiar with the landlord tenant laws there. It is important that you read through the laws that apply and see if this issue is specifically addressed. You may wish to speak with an experienced landlord tenant attorney to be sure you understand what the landlord's responsibilities are to you and your family and what your responsibility is as a tenant under the lease and the laws that apply.

In general, your landlord has the right to do repairs to his/her property. I would think, however, that your landlord would be willing to work things out with you to get the repairs done if it is actually going to take 4 days to do the work AND because he/she will be causing a "habitability" problem by preventing your/your family's use of the only bathroom in the house.

In general, you may want to consider writing a polite letter to your landlord (having a written record is necessary...) to explain your concerns about the difficulties that you and your family will be facing if he/she prevents you from using the only bathroom in the house. Ask him/her to credit you with 4 days (or however many days are required before the work is completed...) of rent (this is generally referred to as rent abatement...) due to the fact that the property will be uninhabitable during the construction. Ask him/her for a written reply within a reasonable time frame (ie. 3-5 business days...) to let you know what you can expect regarding the rent abatement so that you can plan to stay elsewhere during the construction period. You should keep a copy of any such letter for your files and send the letter to your landlord by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested* (*be sure to send the letter by whatever means is called for in the lease agreement and the landlord tenant laws that apply for the state/county/city where the property is located...).

If you do not get a written reply from your landlord, as you request in the letter, then it would be a good idea to have an attorney assist you properly. Again, you would be best served by speaking with an experienced landlord tenant attorney who practices law in the same state/county/city where the property is located.

Let us know what you find out and how things go for you...


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