How can we break our lease without paying the fees?

We have been living in my apartment for 1 1/2 years. When we first moved in, they gave us bed bugs and we had to buy new beds and furniture. They had an exterminator come and spray for months, but it didn’t help. Now, we have lots of bugs, mice, and mold. We took pictures of the mold and called them to let them know. They tried to cover it up with drop-ceiling when we first moved in. When they came out, they tried to tell us it was not mold, but covered it up. I believe the mold is the reason my daughter has been sick for a year. She is constantly throwing-up, having diarrhea, and upper respiratory infections an has been in and out of the ER. Now, we are transferring jobs out of state and they are going to make us pay two months rent to break the lease. How can we get out of paying this?

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Oh my goodness.   What you need to do is go to landlord tenant court and bring an action against the landlord for a breach of habitability.  The apartment is a disgrace from what you have said and you have tried to work with them but it keeps getting worse.  You need to ask for an abatement of the rent for the entire time you have been there ad there have been problem.  Beware that the court may indeed give the the opportunity to cure the defects and get rid of the problems but you can ask for the reduction in the rent for the entire year and a half and request that you pay any rent going forward i to court rather than to them.  Onyl the court can let yo out of the lease (besides your landlord).  But if you do decide to leave with out paying him - which I can not tell you is okay as a lease s a contract - and they sue you then you have to countersue them for the breach of the warranty of habitability.  Good luck.


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