Tenant: 'It's unacceptable what he's doing'

Tenant: 'It's unacceptable what he's doing'

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - After Wayne Miller's pipe froze and burst three weeks ago he had standing water throughout his apartment.

Since then no repairs have been made to the pipes, and Miller and his wife have been without water since. They've been showering at a local truck stop and have had to buy jugs of water just to flush the toilet. Miller told his landlord about the problem but he has refused to fix it.

"Anywhere there was water it's getting moldy and nasty," Said Miller. "This (is a) problem he needs to deal with, and it's unacceptable what he's doing."

We took his complaints to the landlord, John Amiln of Boise, who said he's not paying for the repairs. He claims Miller didn't take the proper steps to prevent the pipes from freezing. We asked him if he still had a responsibility to do so.

Reporter: "With something like piping isn't that your duty as a landlord to fix?"

Amiln: "True if he breaks a window he has to pay to fix it, he broke the water pipe he refused to pay to fix it."

On Thursday Miller was served with an eviction notice by Amiln siting the inability to keep the pipes from freezing as one of his reasons. Amiln also said his eviction had to do with the odors and foul condition of the apartment that were seeping into other units.

We talked with Attorney Sunrise Ayers of Idaho legal Aid Services Inc. who specializes in renters law. She said the repair still has to be made by the landlord even if the tenant broke it.

"Even if they feel the damage is a result of the tenants, they have to make the repair within three days," said Ayers.  "Then they can bill the tenant if they feel the repairs needed because of some damage the tenant did."  

Amiln claims he called a plumber in the phone book, and told him about the needed repairs. Amiln also admits he told the plumber over the phone about the smell coming from the apartment, and he said the plumber refused to show up.

Ayers said if a plumber or landlord cannot get access to an apartment that shows they made an effort to repair the problem. She also notes that in order to prove a landlord took the proper steps they have to show documentation that they tried.

 "Probably they do need to have a plumber come out and if the plumber at that point says no I'm not going to make the repair they need to get something in writing from the plumber saying why they wouldn't make the repair."

Miller can still fight his eviction and because he has always paid his rent on time it could soon be up to a judge to say if the eviction is valid.

Ayers notes all major repairs for things that make a place habitable have to be done within three days according to Idaho Law. In order for it to be valid a tenant must give the request in writing or by email. That way renters can prove they requested the repair when they side they did. For more information on the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords visit Idaho Legal Aid's website.