How can I get my landlord to replace my rugs if they were damaged by a water leak?

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How can I get my landlord to replace my rugs if they were damaged by a water leak?

I lived in my apartment for over 2 1/2 years. I have had water issues/seepage from the foundation where the rugs were extremely wet on 3 occasions, The first occurrence I had one of the Association members come in to see and they agreed the water from coming from outside. The landlord paid for the rugs to be dried and cleaned. Recently it occurred again, the rugs were extremely wet and my landlord was out of the country again. I had to dry them myself. The rugs now smell like mildew and I just received a rental increase with a new q year lease. I would like to stay only if the rugs are replaced because the smell is disturbing to me. Can I put an addendum on the new lease that I will pay the increase when new rug is installed?

Asked on June 25, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you try to put an addendum on the new lease, you will be rejecting the new lease (basically, you'd be making a counteroffer; and a counteroffer rejects the offer on the table) and could potentially be evicted for refusing a rent increase. While a landlord is liable for damage to property caused by the landlord's negligence--e.g. not fixing some water infiltration problem--there is no good way to vindicate your rights. You can't withhold rent for property damage (doing so can subject you to eviction) and you can't refuse a rent increase due to it. All you can do is sue the landlord for any costs his negligence (carelessness) caused you, which may or may not be worthwhile.


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