If my landlord remodeled kitchen last year but it took 7 months to complete, what are my rights to compensation for my losses?

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If my landlord remodeled kitchen last year but it took 7 months to complete, what are my rights to compensation for my losses?

It required my roommate to move out, since his bedroom was off the kitchen and because landlord used it to store torn down cabinets. It took 7 months to remodel. In the meantime, I had to put all my pots and pans, dishes, canned foods, boxed food, spices, glasses, table kitchen and chairs into the living room. It was not practical to cook at home and I gained about 20 pounds in 7 months, lost the roommate who shared rent, could not use the kitchen normally and had no room for couch in living room (stood upon it end). After 4 months and no expectations for completion I withheld rent the last 3 months of the project. Landlord asked me for back rent. Can I make him discount my rent in court?

Asked on June 11, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is very likely that you can get a rent discount for the period of time during which you had no useful kitchen and otherwise endured an unreasonably protracted period of renovation. That is because what you went through would be a violation of the implied warranty of habitability, which is the obligation added or implied to every lease (even oral/verbal ones) by law that the landlord provide you premises which are habitable, or fit for their purpose. (It may also be a violation of the similar "covenant of quiet enjoyment"--that you can "quietly" or without disturbance enjoy your rented space.) Typically, courts either do the credit or abatement by taking an appropriate percentage off rent or by giving a credit equal to the additional costs the tenant incurred. (You can't collect for having put on weight, however, since you can eat out healthy and the landlord did not cause the weight gain.) If you and the landlord can't work matters out, it's very likely you could get an abatement or credit in court.


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