Can tap water that made me sick in apartment be grounds for sueing?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can tap water that made me sick in apartment be grounds for sueing?

I moved into a new apartment and fond out the tap water has a very high lead
concentration comparable to that of Flint Michigan. I have been having bad
stomach trouble as well as very bad headaches. Can I break lease and sue?

Asked on August 9, 2018 under Personal Injury, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Have you put your landlord on written notice of the issue and given him some reasonable amount of time to correct the situation? If you have and he failed to so, then you should be able to terminate your lease early without penalty. All rentals are subject to the "implied warranty of habitability"--an obligation, imposed by law on the landlord, that the rental premises be safe and fit for inhabitation. If they are not--if there are conditions affecting health or safety--that provides grounds to terminate the lease. However, the law requires that the landlord be given the chance to remedy the situation: thus, the requirement that first provide written notice and give the landlord a reasonable time or oppotunity to take action.
As for suing: you can only sue--or more accurately, only get monetary compensation--for provable injury (not just short-term discomfort or pain; actual demonstrable injury, damage, illness, etc.), medical costs, or other costs (e.g. moving expenses; the cost of buying and only using bottled water until you move out; etc.) which can be directly traced to the violation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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