Can I sue for the previous rent I’ve paid, if the landlord constantly has constuction for remodeling projects on the garage and basement?

My landlord constantly has workers doing constuction to the garage and basement(well over 100 days over the past year). She has never received a veral or written approval from us.

Asked on July 19, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the construction has actually or effectively denied you use of some of the space you are paying for, you may be entitled to a pro rate rent abatement for the period of time your possession has been impaired. To oversimplify: say you are renting 2,000 sq ft, and that 500 feet have been inaccessible or unusable by you for 1/3 of a year. Say that your rent was $3,000 per month. You paid a total of $36,000 in rent. You have 1/4 of the space unusable for 1/3 the time: you would be entitled to recover around $36,000 x 1/4 x 1/3, or $3,000 dollars. Again, that's an oversimplication, but it gives you the idea; to find out how this might play out in your specific case, consult with a landlord-tenant attorney.

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