What are my rights if I moved into an basement apartment about a month ago and sewer water seeped in?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my rights if I moved into an basement apartment about a month ago and sewer water seeped in?

I woke up yesterday morning to about 4 inches of sewer water. The landlord showed up and got some of the water out but the smell is bad. Are they supposed to remove the smelly carpet and replaces my stuff that got messed up or at least move me or give me my money back?

Asked on June 28, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

All residential leases contain something called an "implied warranty of habitability", which is a kind of guarantee. Basically, it means that a landlord must give their tenant a safe and sanitary place to live. It's the law. If not, then the landlord has breached the lease.

Sewer water can be a serious health issue. What you need to do is to call the health department and have them send someone out to inspect your apartment. Then, you have the option of doing one of the following:

  1. repair and deduct (fix the problem and subtract the cost from your rent);
  2. withhold your rent until the landlord repairs the problem;
  3. or, under certain circumstances, break your lease (however you will need court approval for this; see below).

In order to break your lease you can't simply move out. What you'll need to do is to go down to housing court and ask to start an action for breach of the warranty of habitability. The court may have you pay your rent into an escrow fund; it will then allow the landlord to repair the problem. You may be relocated until it is fixed. If they cannot remedy the situation, you can ask that the court to terminate the lease.

Since this can all get complicated you should speak with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant cases; try legal aid or see if there is a law school clinic close by. Also, there may be a tenants' rights group in your area who can be of help. Finally, go to the department of social services, they may have someone who be of assistance.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption