If I have mold and mildew growing on and under carpet and walls in a closet, can I terminate my leaseifmy kids have asthma?

They just painted the walls and changed carpet but the problem came back. I took my kids to their doctor and she requested that we move immediately. However, management says they need a 60 day move out notice but this is a hazardous environment.

Asked on March 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A serious mold condition, one affecting health, can provide grounds to terminate a lease and/or seek compensation (for  example: a return of part of the rent you paid during the time you were living with mold; reimbursement of extra costs you've incurred). That is because it is a violation of the "implied warranty of habitability, or the requirement that rental premises be fit for their intented purpose (i.e. to live in safely).

However, at the same time, cases involving violations of the implied warranty of habitabilty can be tricky--handled improperly, the tenant can still find herself liable for rent. The best thing to do, if health is imminently in danger, would be to physically move out (e.g. stay with family, friends, at a motel, etc.) while simultaneously consulting with an attorney; the attorney can evaluate the situation, make sure you either get it fixed and/or break your lease properly, so as to avoid penalties, and also see if you are entitled to any compensation for what you've gone through. Good luck.


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