How can I break my lease?

I just moved into an apartment with 1a 2 month contract. From the day I moved in I have been seeing small round black color bugs on the walls; they are increasing as the days are going by. It has only been 3 weeks since I moved in. I need to break my lease and get out of here. I don’t feel this place is safe for my 2 year old son.

Asked on March 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

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 local and state housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitatiblity, if the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs (in your case have an exterminator get rid of the bugs) 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.  The pest infestation is a health issue and therefore would constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  You might also consider contacting the local housing code inspector to compel the landlord to get rid of the bugs.


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