Can we break the lease if there is Chinese drywall in the house?

We just moved into a rental house and we have all been feeling ill. We believe that this house has Chinese drywall. The landlord is suppose to send an inspector over to check but if there is this type drywall do we have any rights to cancel the lease and move?

Asked on September 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Here is the issue: whether this considered a latent or patent defect. Yes, you are correct in that your landlord must provide you habitable living conditions and must repair any defects. Since this is not simply a broken oven or dishwasher but the stuff that actually makes the house a house, you might review your lease, pinpoint the exact provision relating to potential breaches by the landlord and habitability and inform the landlord in writing that his breach has caused you to move. You inform him you expect the return of your full deposit and you expect that he will help you move to a new location or provide moving expenses since he did not ensure his place was habitable prior to your move-in. Contact your state's attorney general and find out if there are complaints on this landlord and explain the issue of the Chinese drywall. If your landlord refuses to give you your money back, contact the attorney general and HUD to file complaints against him.

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