Cana landlord refuse to fix something that is a code violation?

My house caught on fire and the building inspector came out and gave out violations regarding the electrical wiring. One of the violations was the water heater in the laundry room she is saying that she is not going to fix the laundry so we will no longer have laundry, laundry incl. was part of the deal. So can she get away with not fixing the laundry, and tell them that we are no longer using that? Also, they said that she had to have professionals do the work and then she has her brother in the room tearing down sheet rock to expose the wires. Can she does this?

Asked on August 23, 2011 Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every lease, there is an implied warranty of habitability which means the landlord is required to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.

Since your landlord has been cited for code violations, these violations constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  The electrical wiring is a safety hazard and fire hazard clearly established by the fire that occurred.  Your landlord continues to breach the implied warranty of habitability by not repairing the water heater and by having her brother instead of a professional electrician repair the wiring and continuing with the housing code violations for which she was already cited.

When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability the tenant has the following remedies:  The tenant can make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant decides to stay on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.

Another option for the tenant is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.

If I were you, I would NOT continue living there because the place is a fire hazard.


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