Is my lease binding if I’m renting an illegal unit?

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Is my lease binding if I’m renting an illegal unit?

I signed a 2 year lease 25 days ago. Yet since I moved in there have been countless electrical problems as well as minor repairs. Out of curiosity I went to my local city hall to see if a recent home inspection had been done. I then discovered that not only was the home not a certified andregistered rental property but they had no record of any home inspection. They told me that I am living in the home illegally and they will have to send a violation to my landlord. Rent is due in 4 days and I don’t want to pay it if I’m not even legally allowed to stay here.

Asked on August 10, 2011 Michigan

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you signed a written lease for a rental, implied in the agreement is that the rental is legal for human occupation. If the rental is not "legal" then the full amount of what you agreed to pay is simply not what the rental is worth on a monthly basis.

The issue is what is the fair rental value of the illegal unit you are renting? You need to write your landlord a letter about the situation where you found out that the unit you rented from him or her under the belief that it was a legal unit able to be occupied for human use and that there are numerous electrical problems as well as permit issues warranting a signifant if not total reduction in the agreed upon monthly rent and see what the response is to it.

Keep a copy of the letter sent for future use.

I would hold off paying any rent for the time being. Most likely the unit you are occupying will be tagged by the  city's permit and resource department as an illegal unit where human occupation will not be allowed. As a result, you will have to move. You should consider sending your landlord a letter stating that due to the property's poor physical condition and its illegal status, you are terminating your lease if that is your desire.

Keep a copy of this letter as well for future need.


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