Can I legally break my lease because of cockroaches?

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Can I legally break my lease because of cockroaches?

My boyfriend and I moved into this apartment 7 months ago, at the time we were not informed of roaches. When we were moving in, we discovered roach motels in the cabinets, indicating that the landlord did know of the roaches. We asked him about it, and he said that it was the apartment upstairs that has them, and that he would have someone come and spray every month until it is taken care of. The roaches are getting worse, and the exterminator is coming less frequently. Is there a way we can just move out without penalty to our credit?

Asked on June 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No you can not just move out.  It will be a breach of your lease agreement and then you can be sued for the remainder of the rent owed.  And yes, it will ruin your credit.   But really here your landlord has breached what is known as a warranty of habitability. When you rent an apartment it is supposed to be free of bugs and rodents, etc.  Having those kind of pests makes an apartment uninhabitable and you are entitled to go down to court and ask to pay you rent in to court until the matter has been taken care of.  And you are entitled to ask for an abatement of your rent (reduction).  And if the matter is not rectified then you can ask the judge to let you out of the lease.  Good luck.


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