Am I liable for full rent ifI stopped paying becauserental was unfitto live in?

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Am I liable for full rent ifI stopped paying becauserental was unfitto live in?

I moved on 02/02/10. That whole month I lived with leaks in my living room. Pots everywhere. The leaks are finally fixed, however, there are still 4 holes in the ceiling. Just yesterday our toilets stopped working (overflow when flushing), and we cannot shower due to over flow. There is a constant gurgling coming from all toilets. Sink spit up water with brown like substance coming out. The smell is like sewage. My landlord keeps telling me, “I just don’t know what it could be”. I currently owe him $651 for July and $350 for September. We are now being kicked out.

Asked on September 30, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Consult with a landlord-tenant attorney immediately. The landlord does have an obligation to provide a habitable (clean, safe, working plumbing, etc.) place to live, called the "implied warranty of habitability." If the landlord breaches this obligation, the tenant may have various remedies, including suing for damages (e.g. the difference in rent between a fully habitable place and one that's not), a court order forcing the landlord to make repairs, and/or being able to withhold rent and use part of it for repairs yourself. However, these remedies must be pursued in the right way; simply not paying the landlord, without taking the proper legal steps, puts the tenant in the wrong. If the property is as bad you write, you may have a good defense to eviction and also grounds to sue the landlord--but let an attorney help you sort this out, and be prepared that you will very likely have to deposit the missing rent with the court until the matter is sorted out.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are not liable for the rent.  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 local and state housing codes.

You can sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  Your remedy for a breach of the implied warranty of habitability is to withhold rent and if you move out to terminate your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the lease term.  If you decide to continue living in that rental, you can withhold rent and defend against eviction.


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