How much should I have to pay my landlord for rent this month if I have not been able to use my my kitchen?

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How much should I have to pay my landlord for rent this month if I have not been able to use my my kitchen?

On the 14th of last month I came home to a broken pipe in my kitchen. On the 15th the landlord had the entire area downstairs gutted leaving me with no kitchen etc. I have now spoken to him; he has not paid for any meals, temporary housing, etc. He does not feel that there should be a reduction to my rent even though I have not had a working kitchen for over 3 weeks and the kitchen is not going to be complete for at least another 2 -3 weeks or more. Also, what about the increase in electric and water for the equipment used for clean-up? What are my rights?

Asked on January 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord is wrong. All leases come with what's often called the "implied warranty of habitability," which is the requirement that the premises be fit for their intended purpose--e.g. residence. Conditions, such as a lack of a working kitchen, which impair the use of the premises warrant compensation, such as a recovery of additional costs (hotels, take in, repair, etc. costs) and/or a rent "abatement," or reduction, to reflect the lesser value of the impaired premises. Given that you are talking about 6 weeks of impaired habitability and additional out of pocket costs you incurred, it is probably worthwhile to speak with an attorney about recovering money from your landlord. Alternately, you could represent yourself  in court, if you have to sue (i.e. he won't voluntarily pay anything); you'd probably seek an amount equal your additional out-of-pocket costs plus perhaps a 25% or so rent reduction for the period of no kitchen.


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