Can I withhold rent for getting sick from a contaminated well water in house I rent?

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Can I withhold rent for getting sick from a contaminated well water in house I rent?

I already have health issue (cancer) and have been exposed to high levels of Coliform bacteria from the well on the property. Ive told the landlord about it and he had his son pour bleach in the well but I am already so sick from the exposure to the bacteria. He told me he has nothing else to do with it. That it is now my problem. Is this true or is there something else I can do?

Asked on May 27, 2009 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I think you need to talk to an experienced real estate attorney about this, absolutely as soon as possible, before doing anything more.  One place to find the lawyer you need is our website, http://attorneypages.com

I'm not sure how you know about the bacteria; usually, that has to be deterimined by a laboratory test.  But if the bacteria are there, pouring bleach down the well pipe isn't going to solve the problem, and could be even more dangerous to you.  I would not be at all surprised if your lawyer tells you to call the local health department, because they can and will test the well, and they can and will go after your landlord if the water doesn't meet the legal safety standards.


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