What do I do if I am renting a house with a leak in the roof and the landlord refuses to fix it correctly and my daughter is without a bedroom?

I rented a 2 bedroom house 3 onths ago. Was never told there was a leak in the roof and my daughter has not had a bedroom since moving in here. The landlord is not fixing it and told me if I dont like it I can move! He said my problem was my husband left me and not the leak that has ruined my daughters brand new mattress sey or that she has no bedroom. What are my rights. What can I do. Because my rent is paid and I can not afford to move?!

Asked on July 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with state and local housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability as in your case with the roof leaking, the tenant notifies the landlord as you have done and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  When the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs (contact a roofer) 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 stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.  Another alternative is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  You can also contact the local housing code inspector, who can bring an enforcement action against the landlord for housing code violations.


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