What can I do if my apartment flooded 6 days ago and my kitchen, livingroom and back storage room has been in sitting water since?

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What can I do if my apartment flooded 6 days ago and my kitchen, livingroom and back storage room has been in sitting water since?

I’m waiting on the lanlord to do something about it, however I’m still in the apartment with my 2 year pld and my 10 month old. It is now mildewed and the smell has become unbearable.

Asked on November 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Delaware

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In every residential lease there is what is called an "implied warranty of habitability" which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable (i.e. safe and sanitary) condition by complying with local/state housing codes. Mold/mildew as you describe is a breach of that warranty because it is a health issue.

When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, a tenant must notify their landlord (as you have done). The landlord is then required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant has the following options: The tenant can make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent; the tenant can move out and terminate their lease (which also terminates their obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term); or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.

Additionally, you can sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability. Further, you can contact the local housing code inspector, who can then bring an enforcement action against the landlord for violation of the housing code violation and compel the landlord to clean up the problem.

What you need to do know is to consult with an attorney (or possibly a tenat's right group) who can more fully inform you as to your rights/remedies under the laws of your state.


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