Is my landlord’s refusal to fix mold problem grounds to break lease?

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Is my landlord’s refusal to fix mold problem grounds to break lease?

Approximately 2 months after my roommate and I moved in to our basement apartment we became allergic to our apartment, suspected mold, so we contacted the landlord and requested that the problem be addressed. We heard no response, so we contacted the borough. The borough rep said he could not condemn the apartment without an air test (which we cannot afford). We were able to speak to her (for the first time) last week and she said she was trying to rent out the place and we needed to return the keys, which we then did. We are currently up to date on rent. Should we pay next month’s rent?

Asked on August 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you were asked by the landlord to return the keys and (presumably) move out, you would not owe any rent past that point; in this case, there was a mutual agreement to terminate your tenancy.

Also, a serious mold condition, affecting health and habitability, can be grounds to legally terminate a lease (for violation of the "implied warranty of habitability"), if the landlord does not take steps to remedy it after notice of the condition and a reasonable opportunity to correct it.


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