Can I legally withhold rent due to my landlord not disclosing that there was lead paint in my rental and for not making repairs?

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Can I legally withhold rent due to my landlord not disclosing that there was lead paint in my rental and for not making repairs?

Asked on May 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are a few nuances of landlord tenant law that while different in every state do maintain some continuity. Basically, lead paint is a health issue. Your landlord is required to have a habitable dwelling. If he or she has not disclosed lead paint to you and you discovered it, you can sue for any medical expenses and possibly for lead paint removal. You can talk to the landlord tenant consumer agency in your state who may order your landlord to remove the lead and pay for you and other tenants to live elsewhere in the interim or even pay a certain amount for moving expenses if temporary relocation is not feasible. While you can withhold that portion of costs to cover repair from your rent, generally lead paint removal is so complicated that you may not wish to somehow indirectly inherit the responsibility for it.


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