What to do if I am a tenant at an apartment complex, and there has been a leak from my bathtub down into the other tenant’s bathroom below me?

This has been going on for the last 4 1/2 years. Recently they just renovated the whole bathroom in my apartment and it still leaks.During the renovation the maintenance crew to no safety precautions. Concrete dusk was everywhere in my apartment. I have three boys with allergies and they did not accommodate us very well. They put us in another apartment on the property and come to find out there where new tenants moving the next day. So we had to go back to our dust filled apartment and wait until they where done working in the bathroom. Is this grounds for me and my wife to take legal action?

Asked on September 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the dust impaired health, it may have been a violation of the implied warranty of habitability. That could give rise to the grounds for legal action. However, it may not be worthwhile to take action: what you can get is an amount equivalent to the impact on habitability, for the time period you were affected.

Say that your rent is $1,200 per month, or around $40 per day. Say that your apartment was completely uninhabitable for 5 days. If you sued your landlord and won, you'd be entitled to up to around $200; but to get that $200, you'd have to pay the costs and take the time to sue; winning is never a guaranty; and it would damage the relationship with your landlord. Therefore, unless habitability was impaired for a significant amount of time, it's not likely to be worthwhile to try to take action.


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