Recently moved in to a new apt, but knocking sound in the wall is driving us crazy. Maintenance can’t seem to find an answer.

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Recently moved in to a new apt, but knocking sound in the wall is driving us crazy. Maintenance can’t seem to find an answer.

My wife and I recently moved into a one-bedroom apartment. First day we found
out our A/C wasnt working. It took them 4-5 days to get it up and running. They
apologized and we moved on. Then another problem surfaced. Fire alarm in our
building started to go off randomly. They were all false alarms. It did not get fixed
in a timely manner and it went on for another few days. They apologized again and
we moved on.

Our biggest problem is our bedroom. Since we moved in we noticed there is loud
banging sound coming from our bedroom wall that happens most nights and
keeps us awake. It happens when other tenants are using their water.
Unfortunately, our neighbors wake up very early one at 430-500 AM and the
other around 630 AM causing us to also wake up. We have made numerous
complaints and the landlord attempted to fix the problem by opening up the wall
and securing the pipes. But they werent able to solve the problem and I’m not
sure if theyre going to be able to fix it. Theyre asking if we can move to a smaller
apartment since the one we live in is not available anywhere. In this situation what
are my rights? Can I ask for compensation? Can I ask them to cover the moving
fee? Please help.

Asked on August 10, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can ask for compensation: anyone can ask for anything. But whatever you and the landlord work out is voluntary on both your parts: it must something you both agree to. Your only right is to treat the lease as terminated and move out (without being liable for rent for the balance of the lease term) IF you believe (and believe you can prove in court) that the banging sound is so loud and disruptive that it renders the unit essentially unfit to live in or uninhabitable; if it does, that is a violation of the "implied warranty of habitability," which is the requirement, "added" to all leases by law, that the leased premises  be fit for their intended purpose (residence). As you can imagine, that can be a hard standard to meet, and is also subjective: if sued for the rent by your landlord, one judge may agree that warranty of habitability was violated while another may feel it was not. Therefore, if you go that route, of treating the lease as terminated, you are taking a chance you will be held liable for the rent.


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