If our house is uninhabitable due to rodent infestation, what do we do?

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If our house is uninhabitable due to rodent infestation, what do we do?

We have 2 small children. This condition was not disclosed to us.

Asked on April 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Every  tenant has the right to what is known as the "warranty of habitability".  This is an implied in every lease and gives a tenant the right to live in a clean and safe premises.  Consequently, for a rodent infestation problem you can:

  • Repair and deduct - You can fix the problem and then charge your landlord for reimbursement; 
  • Withhold Rent - You can withhold any further rental payments until the heat is restored; or
  • Terminate your lease - You can choose to end your tenancy and move. 

You need to be aware, however, that you should first consult with a landlord-tenant attorney before pursuing any of these remedies.  If you fail to follow the proper procedures for attempting any of these self-help measures you could be held financially liable.  You can either hire a lawyer or contact a tenant's rights organization. Depending on your income, you could also ask Legal Aid for assistance or the state/county bar association.  A  local law school clinic might also be of help to you.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Every  tenant has the right to what is known as the "warranty of habitability".  This is an implied in every lease and gives a tenant the right to live in a clean and safe premises.  Consequently, for a rodent infestation problem you can:

  • Repair and deduct - You can fix the problem and then charge your landlord for reimbursement; 
  • Withhold Rent - You can withhold any further rental payments until the heat is restored; or
  • Terminate your lease - You can choose to end your tenancy and move. 

You need to be aware, however, that you should first consult with a landlord-tenant attorney before pursuing any of these remedies.  If you fail to follow the proper procedures for attempting any of these self-help measures you could be held financially liable.  You can either hire a lawyer or contact a tenant's rights organization. Depending on your income, you could also ask Legal Aid for assistance or the state/county bar association.  A  local law school clinic might also be of help to you.


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