IfI didn’t havegasservice in my rental and withheld rent until it was fixed, can I be evicted now that it has been repaired?

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IfI didn’t havegasservice in my rental and withheld rent until it was fixed, can I be evicted now that it has been repaired?

I moved in almost 3 months ago and my landlord just had my gas lines inspected so I can finally have my gas turned on. I had to bring my kids across town every day so I could cook and shower them. I was told that because I couldn’t have gas in my apartment it was considered uninhabitable. Now my landlord is trying to have me evicted for non-payment of rent while the apartment was uninhabitable. What can I do to avoid the eviction?

Asked on August 10, 2011 New Hampshire

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability, which means the landlord is required to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with state and local housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability as occurred in your situation, one of the tenant's remedies is to withhold rent and defend against eviction. 

You could assert the defense of breach of the implied warranty of habitability to defend against eviction for withholding rent.  You could sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  Another defense you may be able to assert is retaliatory eviction which means the landlord is retaliating against you for something that is not a breach of the lease (pursuing your right to withhold rent for a breach of the implied warranty of habitability).

It would be advisable to speak with a landlord/tenant attorney and preferably one who represents tenants.


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