Is it OK to withhold rent if a landlord isn’t helping with maintaining rodents?

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Is it OK to withhold rent if a landlord isn’t helping with maintaining rodents?

Asked on December 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you give no details but I assume that you have notified the landlord of the situation and have given them a reasonable amount to time in which to resolve the matter. If so, then you have several options. The fact is that every residential lease contains an an implied "warranty of habitability". This is essentially a guarantee that a landlord gives a tenant that they will provide the tenat with a clean and safe (i.e. "habitable") premises in which to live. Accordingly, you can:

  1. Repair the problem and then deduct the cost from your rent;
  2. Terminate your lease and vacate the premises; or
  3. Withhold your rent until the completion of the repair.

However, before pursuing any of these remedies, you should consult with an attorney. Failure to follow proper legal procedures result in legal trouble for you, including financial liability. Also, you need to contact the health department and file a complaint.


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