Can you break a lease if the landlord cannot eliminate a roach problem?

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Can you break a lease if the landlord cannot eliminate a roach problem?

I was hoping you could answer a tenant/landlord law question for me. We recently signed a 1 year lease on the 1st of this month and found roaches in the apartment five days later. The exterminator has come and told us that the roaches are coming from someone elses apartment and that spraying ours will only help in the short term. Is there any state law that can allow us to break our lease early with no charge? Or do we have to let them spray over and over and never have the problem go away?

Asked on August 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not have to live with the problem and constantly spray.  But you can not just break your lease unless the landlord lets you out voluntarily or the court renders it void.  So here is what you need to do.  You need to go to court and bring an action for a breach of the warranty of habitability in to court.  You need to ask the court to pay your rent in to court and to ask for an abatement (reduction) of the rent.  The court will take control of the matter and force the landlord to fix the cause of the problem, not just the resulting issue in your apartment.  If the landlord can not fix it with in a reasonable time (determined by the court) then you can ask to have the lease rendered void.  Good luck.


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