What to do if I recently moved into an apartment and my landlord agreed to have the apartment cleaned thoroughly before I moved in but he hasn’t finishd?

There was no written agreement however the cleaning was completed. I have not been able to move in all of my things, due to unfinished cleaning and “cosmetic issues” that were disregarded. What am I able to do at this point?

Asked on January 6, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Cosmetic issues are, unfortunately, irrelevant in the vast majority of landlord-tenant cases. That's because for the most part, the law only takes cognizance of issues that affect "habitility"--that is, that effectively prevent all or part of the premises from being used. If the condition of the apartment prevented you from unpacking and using it--not merely made it less desirable, but made it essentially impossible to do so--then the landlord may have  violated the "implied warranty of habitabilty." In that case, you may be able to sue the landlord for an order forcing him to complete the work or seeking monetary compensation; or in extreme cases, to even treat the lease as terminated. But if the issues do not effectively prevent use of  the apartment, you most likely do not have any recourse.

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