Can I break my lease ifthe lack of air in my apartmenttriggers a medical condition?

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Can I break my lease ifthe lack of air in my apartmenttriggers a medical condition?

I stay in an apartment and my air has gone out; its 80+ degrees in my house. I let the manager know and she had a mechanic here. He said that I need a coil. When I spoke with the manager again she stated, “We don’t fix air in February” and could not give me a date when it will be repaired. The only air in here is a broken ceiling fan and windows that don’t group and even if they did they have no screens on them. My health is at stake; I had 2 asthma attacks due to it being so hot. I’m going to a hotel tonight so that I can breathe. Is my landlord liable for my hotel expenses?

Asked on February 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As I am sure that you know, a lease is a contract as between you and your landlord.  It should spell out the rights and liabilities of both parties.  There is also under the law what is known as certain warranties such as habitability of an apartment and certain rights such as the right to quiet enjoyment and the right to be safe, etc.  You can not just break your lease.  You will be liable under it for the rent.  It sounds here like there is much more going wrong than you are saying.  For example, do the windows open to allow air in?  Yes, but they have no screens?  And the ceiling fan does not work.  You have complained about this?  What you need to d is go down to landlord tenant court and file an action regarding the landlord's breach of your warranty of habitability and ask the court to allow you to pay your rent in to court until the problems are fixed.  The landlord will be given the chance to make things right.  If he does not then you may ask to break your lease.  Good luck. 


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