Can I break my lease ifthe landlord hasn’t taken care of an ant infestationor appliance maintenance?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I break my lease ifthe landlord hasn’t taken care of an ant infestationor appliance maintenance?

We have called numerous times about the ants and they just give us some home remedy for killing them and it never works. They said they could have someone come out and spray but it would just make them worse. We have them everywhere. As for the appliance our stove has been broken for months. We only have one working burner. They had someone come out 2 months ago and fix it but he needed a part ordered to finish the job. It’s still broken and haven’t heard a word about it since. If I break my lease can I get my deposit back?

Asked on May 16, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You *may* be able to terminate your lease legally, leave, and get your deposit back--but you should consult with an attorney first, and ideally let the attorney help you. All leases have what's known as an "implied warranty of habitabilty"; this is a term implied to all leases, that the premises must be inhabitable for  their purpose--e.g. for residence. A severe insect/pest problem could violate this; not having a working stove might also violate it (you can't effectively cook). Violations of this warranty can give rise to the right to sue to force your landlord to clean up the problem; to the right to monetary compensation; and sometimes--if the conditions are serious enough--the right to terminate the lease w/out penalty. The problem is, it's not always clear when that stage is actually reached; also, you have to provide you landlord notice--written notice--of the conditions prior to taking certain actions. If you take action precipitously or in the wrong way, you can find yourself liable to the landlord. So you do have rights, but they must be exercised in the correct way; let an attorney help you.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption