If my basement flooded due to a faulty sump pump andmy propertydamaged, is my landlord responsible?

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If my basement flooded due to a faulty sump pump andmy propertydamaged, is my landlord responsible?

I rent a home and was told by my landlord that the basement had been slightly “wet” on one occasion but had never flooded. We have had a lot of rain in the past month and when I came home from work one day there was about 8″of water standing in the basement. This was due to a sump pump failure. Am I responsible for the damaged property? Also, my children and I are very allergic to mold/mildew and are now having allergic symptoms. Is this just cause to forfeit our lease agreement?

Asked on May 20, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your landlord is responsible for replacing the faulty sump pump and repairing the damage in the basement.

As for the mold and mildew, in every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability, which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition in order to comply with state and local housing codes.  The mold and mildew aggravating your allergies and your childrens' allergies is a health and safety issue.  Your landlord should eradicate the mold and mildew within a reasonable time after being given notice.

If your landlord fails to eradicate the mold and mildew within a reasonable time, as a health and safety issue this would constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  As a tenant, when there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, you can either have the repairs made and deduct the cost from the rent or move out and terminate your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of your lease or if you decide to stay on the premises, withhold rent and defend against eviction.


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