How to handle a constructive eviction?

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How to handle a constructive eviction?

My lease is up next month. I have moved out of the property and would like to write a constructive eviction letter. Is there a specific form? What exactly needs to be included? I have documented the many times I have asked for the landlord to repair the wiring and clean up raccoon feces. I left the property 1 month prior to the end of the lease and would like to demand return of my deposit. Can I do that?

Asked on December 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is no set form for a constructive eviction letter. Such a letter would do what you suggest: document the habitability issues, the notice you gave the landlord of them, and the landlord's failure to take remedial or corrective action.

Note that it is only constructive eviction if the problems or deficiencies rendered the premises essentially uninhabitable or unfit for their intended purpose (residence). Lesser issues do not violate or the implied warranty of habitability or give rise to constructive eviction. So, for example:

1) Wiring: if the problem with the wiring was you had no light; or the circuits blew every time you used an appliance; or posed a demonstrable fire hazard, that might violated the implied warranty of habitability and support constructive eviction. On the other hand, if it was just that an outlet or three didn't work, or that the wiring couldn't support all the electronics you wanted (home entertainment system, computer, cell phone chargers, etc.), that would not be constructive eviction.

2) Racoon feces: if the feces was in your house and was significant, then this might be constructive eviction. Feces in your yard or on a deck/porch, unless at a very high level--so bad it posed a health hazard even though it was outside--would not.


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