Can I break my lease as well as sue my landlord if people are smoking in a non-smoking building and it is affecting my son’s health?

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2011

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Can I break my lease as well as sue my landlord if people are smoking in a non-smoking building and it is affecting my son’s health?

I have contacted my landlord numerous times about issues such as marijuana and cigarette smoke coming in through my vents. The buildings have clear non smoking signs as well as it being stated in our lease. It has triggered my sons asthma and keeps making him very sick. I want to know if this is enough to break my lease, as well as sue him for the pain and suffering it has caused my son.

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Most States in this country have "warranty of habitability" statutes regarding leases/rentals between landlords and tenants where the landlord is required to provide safe and habitable premises for a tenant in exchange for the rent. If other individuals are causing problems for breathing for you or your son, most State statutes require notice to a landlord of the problem by the tenantso as to allow the landlord an opportunity to correct the problem.

If the landlord does not timely correct the smoke problem through the vents affecting your son, some States through their statutes allow the tenant to make corrective repairs up to a certain dollar amount. If the landlord is not responsive the problems of smoke coming in through the vents in the unit you are renting, the failure to remedy the problem could be grounds for ending your lease with him and her. 

Perhaps there is a provision in the lease with the landlord mentioning conditions warranting ending of the lease if there is a written lease?

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 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.

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