If I have multiple holes in my ceiling and the landlord has not fixed, how do I file a complaint and what are my rights?

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If I have multiple holes in my ceiling and the landlord has not fixed, how do I file a complaint and what are my rights?

Several weeks ago, the water heater in the apartment above my unit exploded. When that happened my ceiling began lo leak water which created damage and holes to most of my livingroom ceiling and carpet.

Asked on August 4, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the holes or other damage affect habitability--the ability to safely use the premises as a residence--and the landlord will not fix the damage after written notice, you could bring a lawsuit for breach of the implied warranty of habitability (the obligation to furnish rental premises "fit for their intended purpose") and look to recover a pro rata rent abatement (reduction) for the period of time habitability was impaired. However, if the damage does not actually affect habitability--it is unaesthetic, but not unsafe or unhealthy in some way--then you might not have a cause of action; landlords are not obligated to make all repairs, only those specifically in the lease or whcih affect habitability.


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