Is it illegal for the landlord to rent a place that is not up to code?

We found out that the house we have been renting for the last year and a half has multiple building code violations. I feel this is a breach of our rental agreement and my state’s landlord/tenant act. Does the property management company have a legal responsibility to make sure the house is up to code? Can we sue for damages?

Asked on September 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Alaska


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A landlord under the laws of all states in this country cannot legally rent a unit in violation of existing codes. However, just because a unit is not in compliance with existing codes does not necessarily mean that the unit is not code compliant for habitability issues. Meaning, some municipalities grandfather exisiting structures as being allowable to be rented depending upon the given circumstances.

If the unit you have is not code compliant for habitation purposes presently the owner's property manager is responsible to make the unit code compliant subject to the owner's approval. Depending upon the degree of code violation you might be able to bring a successful action for a refund of some of your rent.

I suggest that you consult further with a landlord tenant attorney about your matter.

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