Can we breakour lease legally or seek damages due to health risks from a mold infestation?

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Can we breakour lease legally or seek damages due to health risks from a mold infestation?

The apartment above ours had a pipe burst causing our entire master bedroom to become flooded through the ceiling light fixtures fan, etc. After the flood they ran de-humidifiers and fans to get out the water. A few days ago we noticed a small spot of mold above the shower and overnight it grew substantially pictures were taken. Bringing this to the landlords attention they merely cleaned the spot and pretended like all was OK. My girlfriend suffers difficulty breathing lately and we want to get out as we do not feel safe. We believe strongly that there is mold growing in the walls.

Asked on February 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Every rental comes with what's known as the "implied warranty of habitability." This is an obligation put on the landlord to ensure that the premises is fit for its intended purpose--in this case, residence. That means it must be safe to reside in. Serious mold issues can make the premises unsafe, thereby violating the warranty of habitability. A breach of this warranty can give rise to grounds to seek monetary compensation, to terminate the lease, or both. Given that you you may have a valid legal claim (the issue will be largely factual--is there mold, and how bad is it?) which, one way or another, could be potentially worth up to thousands of dollars, you should consult  with a landlord-tenant attorney about vindicating your rights. Good luck.


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