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Woman files lawsuit against Baltimore County Del. Jay Jalisi over ‘disgusting conditions’ at city apartment

Del. Jay Jalisi, a Baltimore County Democrat, has been sued by a tenant for injuries she suffered in a fall.
Del. Jay Jalisi, a Baltimore County Democrat, has been sued by a tenant for injuries she suffered in a fall. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

A tenant of a rental complex operated by Del. Jay Jalisi is suing the Baltimore County lawmaker after she slipped and fell in one of his units.

According to a complaint filed this month, the tenant, Michele Hayes, alleges that Jalisi’s property management firm, HMJ Management Company, failed to remedy “disgusting conditions” in an apartment she rented monthly on Greenmount Avenue.

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The complaint, filed by Hayes’ attorney Matt Vocci, says Jalisi is renting out an “uninhabitable, unlicensed apartment” at his multi-unit complex, Bretton Terrace Apartments, plagued by drain fly and cockroach infestations, water leaks and mold.

Jalisi, a Democrat whose district includes Randallstown and Reisterstown, did not return phone calls requesting comment Wednesday afternoon.

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In her complaint, Hayes said Jalisi’s failure to fix water leaks in her bathroom caused her to slip on the wet floor last April and hit her head against the wall and a toilet paper holder. The toilet paper holder lodged in her throat and left her unable to call for help.

The fall required spinal surgery and left Hayes with chronic neck and back pain that prevents her from working, according to the complaint.

Hayes said she’s been in physical therapy for nearly a year, and isn’t sure if the injuries she sustained on the right side of her body will fully heal, which leaves her arm and leg numb.

“I have to take [anti-convulsion] medication in order for my right hand to be functional — but that medicine makes it almost impossible for me to be functional,” she said. “It’s a daily choice between taking medication to make my right side work and being a functional human being.”

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Hayes, who said she dealt directly with Jalisi to lease the apartment, said she was never given a copy of the lease, and almost immediately noticed water leaks, peeling paint and mold. She and her fiancé, Tyrone Tyler Sr., who also is named as a complainant, used buckets to capture water pouring from the closet ceiling in Hayes’ bedroom, according to the suit.

Rotting wood flooring in some areas of her unit presented a safety hazard, the complaint said.

The Baltimore City Department of Housing & Community Development confirmed the rental license for the apartment was revoked in 2020 due to missing inspection reports.

Jalisi’s property has been cited for several violations in Hayes’ apartment. Those citations, issued last July, included a missing bathtub and defective flooring, shower, toilet, wall and cabinet.

Tammy Hawley, a spokeswoman for the city housing department, said violations have not been remediated and a license won’t be re-granted until repairs are made.

Jalisi filed a complaint against Hayes in January last year for two months of rent he said Hayes failed to pay, although screenshots of text messages between Hayes and Jalisi included in the lawsuit show him acknowledging that he did receive the rental payments, but already had filed the complaint.

As a result, Hayes was served with an eviction notice for Aug. 18, which her attorneys subsequently quashed because it incorrectly said she had failed to pay rent.

Hayes said she believes “the whole attempt to evict us was retaliatory” because of her complaints.

Hayes and Tyler are seeking in excess of $75,000 in damages, plus costs and attorneys’ fees and other relief as justice demands, according to the lawsuit.

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