Already moved out of an unhabitable apartment 4 months ago. Can’t really sue or break lease (at least I don’t think) cause I messed up. What happens if I stop paying rent?
Location: PA, USA
Okay, here’s the situation. I will preface by saying, I know I messed up. This is being written in March 2023.
In January, I faced a number of issues in my apartment. The heating stopped working and the smoke detector started beeping every 2 minutes. It was living hell. Earlier, in September when I first moved in, I arrived to a fridge infested with hundreds of fruit flies and a ton of left over food from the tenant whose place I took over during the summer. I cleaned it all, and then the flies kept returning. I then noticed the fridge gasket was very loose in several parts which was what was causing the flies to go in. I learned that the only way to contact maintenance was through submitting a work order online - no phone number. I submitted a work order, it took around two weeks for anything to happen, i then got an email where they said they fulfilled it, but when i checked the fridge there was no change, not even a replaced gasket. (I have photos and videos for all of this if it makes a difference.) I accepted the situation and made do with my mini fridge.
Now fast forward to January. After September’s experience, I was pretty cynical that submitting a work order would actually fix anything (this was my mistake) and I spoke to management in person about it. They did tell me to submit a work order. I had also run into a maintenance worker and verbally told him about the situation and he verbally told me he’d come the next day to fix it, but he didn’t. I got a respiratory infection (documented) and when I told my parents abroad about the situation, they told me to move out, so I did. At the same time I went through some other difficult circumstances and got diagnosed with ADHD. The work order never got submitted. I completely forgot about it. This was a year long lease so I was stuck paying for every month since then while not living there.
I am an international student and this is my first time being an adult so I was unfamiliar with what these actions entailed and the amount of money I am paying every month in addition to my new place’s rent.
I get that because I didn’t put the work order in at the time, I probably have no legal standing because of the lack of a paper trail. But this is seriously taking a financial and mental toll on me and I would really benefit from saving the 5,500 dollars in rent I still have left to pay from the lease. I just thought of something that is potentially reckless so I came here to check if it’s an option. Can I just stop paying rent? I get that eviction is a potential consequence, but I already moved out in January. What are the other probable legal consequences? This is a big company that owns the apartment building in addition to many other properties in the city, so I don’t know if that means they are more or less likely to make use of every legal action against me.
I am leaving the country in August. I know the country’s legal system is slow, so even if the company does take legal action against me, is it likely for me to face consequences within these few months?