Is your landlord obligated to let you know in advance if your apartment is in a flood zone and floods periodically before you rent?

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Is your landlord obligated to let you know in advance if your apartment is in a flood zone and floods periodically before you rent?

I rented an apartment 10 months ago. It is in the lower level of a building in a flood zone that I was unaware floods on a regular basis. My kitchen flooded twice which is connected to the boiler room and bathroom tiles fell off bath enclosure, as well as leaks over my toilet from the upstairs unit were not fixed until last week. I paid rent until 4 months ago and then stopped because no repairs done. I am filing a habitability countersue because I am now being evicted for non-rent payment. Were they obligated to let me know before I signed the lease that the apartments flooded on a regular basis?

Asked on August 22, 2011 Indiana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country a person selling real property or a landlord has an affirmative obligation to advise (preferably in writing) all potential buyers or tenants of all matters known by the property owner that may affect a person's willinness to buy or rent the property and the amount paid for the purchase or rental.

Failure to make such disclosure could be a form of fraud known as "concealment." In your situation if your landlord knew that the unit you rented flooded or had the chance of flooding before you moved into it, he or she had an affirmative obligation to advise you of this material fact.

Your burden is to establish this "knowledge" of the landlord to assist you in your cross complaint for habitability issues on the assumed unlawful detainer action. This failure to disclose could be a good defense to the unlawful detainer action you have with the landlord.

Good luck.


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