What are my rights if my landlord refuses to rid my house of rodents ormake legitimate repairs?

We have lived in the home just 1 year. The landlord is now taking the position that if something breaks, we caused it. Nothing is getting repaired. Dishwasher spring coil in door broke (1 month after we moved in); found rats which caused a leak a the wall (we’re paying to control; LL says we caused infestation); garage door ball bearings wore out (LL says we caused it); heating/AC – costing $500-600 per month for 2 level home (LL won’t service). We don’t want to move and uproot the family, plus moving is expensive. LL doesn’t listen to reason or logic. Out of ideas. Relationship strained.

Asked on October 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Every residential lease (written or oral) contains what is known as an implied "warranty of habitability". Essentially, this is a guarantee that gives a tenant the right to live in a clean and safe premises. Accordingly, if a landlord refuses to perform necessary maintenance or needed make repairs, a tenant has the right to: 

  1. Repair and Deduct - repair the problem and then charge their landlord for the cost of the repair;
  2. Terminate the Lease - end their tenancy and vacate the premises; or
  3. Withhold Rent - refuse to make any further rental payments until the completion of the repair(s). 

Note: Before pursuing any of these remedies an attorney should be consulted  If proper legal procedures are not followed, a tenant could be held financially liable for attempting any of these self-help measures.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.