Can I get out of rent to own contract?

I rented my property as of October 2013
and began rent to own February 2014. At
the beginning it was ok but in the
summer of 2014. My roof started leaking
the owner verbally told me there was not
leaks in house and when I sent her
pictures she never responded. Insurance
saw roof falling apart and has requested
this be fixed. Owner told me to fix it
and that the house wasn’t in bad shape
when she signed contract. I also have
problems with sewer and shower.

Asked on January 4, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

As long as you are still renting it (i.e. before title transfers to you), your landlord has the standard landlord obligation under the "implied warranty of habitabiity" to maintain the premises in a condition fit for inhabitation (for people to live in). If she fails to do this after written notice of the problem, and IF the leaks are bad enough that a reasoanble person would not live (it's not fit to live in), then they may well be a breach of the implied warranty of habitabiity and justify you in terminating the contract.
Or if there is evidence that the owner knew of problems with the roof when you entered into the agreement but failed to disclose them, that may be fraud, which would let you void the agreement.
So you may have grounds to get out of the agreement, but it depends on the facts: how bad are the leaks? did the owner logically know of them and intentionally fail to disclose them? Since the answer depends on the specific details of this situation, you are advised to consult with an attorney to review the facts of your situation. 


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