How long does a landlord have to repair a leaking roof?

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How long does a landlord have to repair a leaking roof?

We contacted our management company about the roof leaking almost 4 months ago. A roofer came out 2 days later. I called to get an update a month later and got a reply that the owner was working on it. I heard nothing the following month. Then in the middle of the next month (last month), the management company came out to take pictures of damage inside. I heard nothing again until I contacted them last week. Another roofer sent out 4 days ago. Up until this date we still have not heard anything. What is the time they have for repairs and what legal actions can we take? We have damage on the inside of the unit and possible mold and a child with asthma lives in the house.

Asked on February 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord as you have done and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  When the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.  Another option is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  The leaking roof and the mold are health hazards to you and your child who has asthma and therefore clearly constitute breaches of the implied warranty of habitability.

You might also want to contact the local housing code inspector to take enforcement action against the landlord.


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