House non habitable questions on rent

My boyfriend and I started renting this house in November when we moved in the house had mice and black mold. in December due to an income change we talked to the landlords and told them we could no longer afford the rent. Now we have been without running water for over a week, the landlords came out a few days ago to look at it but water still doesn’t work according to everything I’ve looked at we are legally allowed to move out and not pay the rent as house in non-habitable but what coarse of action should we take?

Asked on January 3, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Provide written notice of the conditions, sent some way you can prove delivery, if you have not done so already. The notice should describe all problems in detail, including a time line for when they occured, how long they lasted, are they will ongoing, etc., and should include a demand that any still-existing problems be repaired. After they get written notice, they get a "reasonable" time (unfortunately, this is a subjective measure, of what is reasonable under the circumstances; there is no hard-and-fast time frame) to correct the problem. If they do not restore habitability--and a lack of water would render a home uninhabitable--within such a reasonable time, you could consider yourself to be "constructively" (or effectively) evicted by a breach of the "implied warranty of habitability" (violation of the landlord's obligation to provide a rental fit to be lived in). You would the provide a second written notice, sent so you can prove delivery that you are vacating and the lease is terminated because the home is uninhabitable; make sure to actually vacate right away; and return the keys to the home.


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