Do I have legal right to make my landlord fix the floor that he let get so bad that it can cause harm to someone?

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Do I have legal right to make my landlord fix the floor that he let get so bad that it can cause harm to someone?

My friend and I are renting from a friend who owns the house and lives within.He has let the kitchen floor be destroyed by a leak from the dishwasher that was prior to us coming in. Because he won’t fix it but still wants to use the dishwasher, the floor has been destroyed to the point it’s a safety hazard. I have nearly broken my toe because it got stuck between two boards and scratched my foot on the boards lifting out of the floor (opening it for bugs and rodents to come through). He is threatening to kick me out for mentioning the need to fix it.

Asked on January 28, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Nebraska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

All rentals come with what is known as the implied warranty of habitability. This is the obligation, imposed by law on landlords, that their rental premises be safe to use for their intended purpose--such as residence. Conditions that cause safety hazards can violate this warranty. When the warranty is violated, the tenant may have the right to do one or more of the following: seek monetary compensation for the time they have been living with the dangerous condition; seek a court order requiring its repair; repair the condition themselves and deduct the cost thereof from the rent; withhold rent until it is repaired; and/or move out early without penalty. If the tenant withholds rent or moves out when the condition was not bad enough or fails to follow the correct process, the tenant can end up in breach of the lease and liable to the landlord; therefore, it is important to consult about the specifics of your situation with a landlord-tenant attorney before acting.


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