Can a landlord charge you rentif you no longer live on the premises due to acondition that makesitunlivable?

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Can a landlord charge you rentif you no longer live on the premises due to acondition that makesitunlivable?

I recently rented a house and when i went to turn the gas on found out there was a gas leak under the house somewhere. She’s still wanting me to pay rent even though my family and I are unable to live the due to a problem with the house that she is supposed to fix but refuses to without my rent. Can she charge me rent for a house i cant live in until she fixes the problem and threaten to kick us out?

Asked on February 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Ok here's the thing:  you signed a contract - the lease - to rent the premises and pay the rent to her. You both have rights and obligations under that contract.  Foremost you have a right to assume that the apartment is safe and "habitable" and there is assumed a "warranty of habitability" under the law. Your situation seems to make the place "uninhabitable."  The under the law you should be allowed an "abatement" of the rent - either reduction or non-payment - or be allowed to consider the lease void or voidable should the problem not be fixed.  BUT - and this is a big BUT - the law does not like when parties take things in to their own hands.  You as the tenant have to go down to the court and start an action regarding the gas leak as against the landlord and ask that the court allow you to pay the rent in to court until it is fixed.  When it is fixed ask for an abatement in the rent.  I guarantee that it will be taken care of.  Good luck.


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