DEAR HARRIETTE: I need help with my landlord, who refuses to make repairs to my apartment. During this past winter, my ceiling constantly leaked because of a hole in the roof that my landlord refused to repair. This has been going on for five months, and my landlord promised that he would make the necessary repairs.
I have not paid my rent for the last five months. Do I have the right to withhold my rent payment until the repairs are completed? -- Leaky Ceiling, Chicago
DEAR LEAKY CEILING: Gather up all the documentation you have regarding this matter. Hopefully you have written to your landlord and he has written back regarding the leaky ceiling. If not, send a certified letter stating all the details of the situation and asking that the roof be fixed immediately.
In Chicago, your landlord is required to maintain a safe apartment, which includes a watertight roof. You are required to tell your landlord in writing that the repair needs to be made and allow 14 days for it to be handled.
After that, if you want to withhold your rent, you must let the landlord know what the problem is; tell him that you plan to withhold part of your rent, and how much; and allow 14 days for the landlord to fix the problem, according to the University of Chicago Apartment Guide.
I recommend that you contact an attorney immediately for advice on how to move forward. You are definitely in jeopardy of being evicted if you have not covered yourself with documentation. Get legal support now, and hopefully you will be able to sort this out -- including getting your roof repaired.
DEAR HARRIETTE: There is a person on my job whom I really like. This man is what dreams are made of. I'm having trouble concentrating on my work because I'm dreaming about him. As far as I know, he is single, and he makes all the women on the job swoon.
Here is my dilemma: My company frowns on interoffice relationships. I really like this guy, and I want to date him because I feel like he is the one for me. What is a girl to do? -- Smitten, South Orange, N.J.
DEAR SMITTEN: You have a bad case of "the hots" for this man. My best advice to you is to get over it.
Clearly, he is smooth and charismatic. You say that "he makes all the women on the job swoon." That means he is a charmer who knows what he's doing. Try your best not to get caught up in his web.
Focus on your work. Limit your interaction with him. As tempting as he may be, trust that he does not have your best interests at heart. The "one" for you is someone who has only you in his sight. Your perfect partner is not someone who is entrancing every woman he meets.