Can I break my lease due to health problems?

I’ve been having respiratory and stomach problems lately and the doctors kept saying I was fine. Went to a naturophathic doctor who tested me for allergies and found I’m sensitive to mold dust wood and grass. They mow the lawn every week put in new bark chips and I found mold in my closet and have pink mold in my shower. I moved here in 8 months ago and signed a year lease with a co-signer. I want to make sure I can legally move before I put in too much effort trying to find a place. The manager here said I can move but I want to make sure I don’t get a huge bill a month after I leave.

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can't gterminate the lease due to your health problems per se--it is not the landlord's issue if you have allergies, for example. However, if the landlord is violating the implied warranty of habitability, that may give you grounds to terminate. The implied warranty means that every leased premises must be fit for its intended purpose; i.e. for residence. Serious issues that prevent it from being used for that purpose violate the warranty, and can give rise to a right to terminate the lease and/or seek monetary compensation. Mold can be a violation of the warranty, though first you have to give the landlord written notice of the condition (of the mold) and a reasonable chance to cure the conditon. If aftrer notice the landord does not take care of the mold, that may let you terminate the lease.

Also if you get a written agreement from the property manager that you could move out at a certain point without penalty, that agreement should be enforceable.

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