Am I allowed to break my lease if the home is in poor condition?

I was not allowed to do walk-through until the day scheduled to move in and signed the lease. The house was staged to look in great condition. After we signed our lease and started moving in, we noticed all the problems. The kitchen drawers were filled with garbage, rat droppings in the basement, the garage was full of scrap and trash, etc. Within the first 3 days, we had a gas leak and the whole thing was red tagged because it was old piping and hooked up wrong. Now the ceilings are leaking during rain and you can see where it was plastered (patched) from the ceiling caving in before.

Asked on July 29, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability which means that the premises must be in compliance with local or state housing codes.  This is a health and safety issue.  You can file a lawsuit against the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  Breach of the implied warranty of habitability allows the tenant to withhold rent and either move or stay and defend against eviction.  

The breach of the implied warranty of habitability will allow you to get out of your lease.

Your lawsuit for breach of the implied warranty of habitability against the landlord could be filed in Small Claims Court unless your state has a special court for landlord/tenant disputes.  Your damages should also include court costs such as the court filing fee and process server fee.


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