Can my landlord charge me rent for the months I’ve been living elsewhere due to a remodel caused by a fire?

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Can my landlord charge me rent for the months I’ve been living elsewhere due to a remodel caused by a fire?

We have been out of our house for almost 2 months due to the construction following a house fire. I’m wondering if we are obligated to pay rent although the house has been inhabitable for these 2 months?

Asked on August 2, 2011 Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord can charge you rent for the time you have been living elsewhere due to a remodel on the rented unit caused by a fire. The issue is whether the landlord is legally allowed to receive rent from you while you are living elsewhere during the remodel?

The landlord is not legally entitled to receive rent from you for the rented property that is being repaired where you are not getting the benefit of its use. You agreed to pay a certain sum of money monthly to rent the place expecting a home in habitable and safe condition. You are not receiving this now.

The fire and subsequent repairs needing your temporary displacement justifies your refusal to pay any rent to your landlord for the unit while you are living elsewhere while repairs are ongoing.


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