What are my options regarding water damage to my apartment?

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What are my options regarding water damage to my apartment?

A pipe burst in our leaving room, bathroom and bedroom. Now the ceiling needs repairs due to the same problem. The situation in the leaving room is that the landlord refused to change the carpet that due to the water damage has mold. I have a 7 month old baby and I’m worried. I would like to move but I wasn’t planning on doing that now. I’m concerned for my children’s safety and don’t have the monetary means to go elsewhere. Can I sue? What are my chances of winning this case

Asked on July 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Every lease contains something that is knowm as the implied "warranty of habitability".  This is the right to live in a clean and safe premises. It means that if your rental is not clean and safe (i.e. habitable), you have certain rights. You can:

  •  repair and deduct (fix the problem yourself and have the landlord reimburse you);
  • withhold rent (don't pay rent until the repairs are made); or
  • you could terminate your lease and hold your landlord liable for reimbursement of any expenses incurred as a result of any move. 

However before you attempt any of these self-help measures you need consult with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant cases, or you can contact a tenants rights organization for help. If you fail to follow the proper procedures for attempting any of the above remedies, you could find yourself in legal hot water.


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