What to do if I rented a house but found that the house is not in a livable condition?

The house is leaking everywhere, we found snakes in the garage, maggots in front of the basement door, a bees nest, poison ivy, no gas and alot of more and more problems. I have a young son. We paid almost every peny we have to rent this house and now we can’t move out .

Asked on August 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

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, the tenant notifies the landlord 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 (call someone to fix the leaks and get rid of the pests) 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 conditions you describe are health and safety issues which constitute breaches of the implied warranty of habitability.  You can 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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