If a landlord does not make a good faith effort to make repairs and resolve code issues after a 14 day letter, what are the further steps I can take?

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If a landlord does not make a good faith effort to make repairs and resolve code issues after a 14 day letter, what are the further steps I can take?

I sent my landlord a letter requesting repairs and also stated that I was never informed of the interior lead paint, which is flaking. The house was moved to this location in the early 90’s. According to city inspection they house must conform to codes of the year it was moved, none of the wiring does. They have also never done maintenance on the house, saying I rented the house “as is”. It has now been 35 days since the letter, nothing has been done. Can I terminate tenancy at will or possible of lawsuit, as the dr said the lead could cause my seizure increase as I had elevated levels.

Asked on August 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) If there are code violations, you can speak with the municipality's  code enforcement (e.g. building) department to see what, if anything, they can or will do.

2) If the code violations represent a health or safety hazard and the landlord will not or cannot correct them, that would be a violation of the "implied warranty of habitability" (the obligation, imposed by law, that landlords provide rental premises fit for inhabitation); that in turn could provide grounds to terminate the lease without penalty. The key issue is whether or not it is hazardous to most or all people, or only to you, due to some particular susceptibility you have. A landlord must maintain premises in a way that is safe for the average person; he is not obligated to maintain it in a way safe  for a particularly vulnerable person. If the lead and/or other issues would pose a hazard to most people, then you should have grounds to terminate your lease if the landlord will not correct the condition.


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