If I have to vacate my apartment due to a rat invasion after having paid for a full month’s rent, am I entitled to a refund?

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If I have to vacate my apartment due to a rat invasion after having paid for a full month’s rent, am I entitled to a refund?

I was renting an apartment and within a week of paying my rent rats starting coming into my apartment. I notified the landlord but now weeks later the rat problem is not fixed and I still have not been able to return to the apartment. I do not have a lease. What are my rights?

Asked on August 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether or not you gave the landlord a reasonable chance to correct the situation--i.e. time to get an exterminator in, time for the traps or poison to work, etc. If you gave him a reasonable opportunity to correct the problem, but he failed to--AND also, the rat problem was bad enough to make the apartment unsafe for residence--then you would be able to move out without penalty after that point.

However, if you moved out before giving the landlord a reasonable chance to fix the problem, and/or the situation did not render the rental unit uninhabitable, then you breached your oral (unwritten) lease by moving out when you did. In that case, since a tenant owes a month's notice before terminating an oral lease, you would owe a month's rent.


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