What to do if my landlord is holding me to a lease that they have clearly broken, and they’re putting me through a health risk by not testing mold that was found?

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What to do if my landlord is holding me to a lease that they have clearly broken, and they’re putting me through a health risk by not testing mold that was found?

I have had my gas shut off for a week now, leaving me without possibilities to cook and without heat. It clearly says on the lease that my landlords are responsible to pay for it. I also found mold in my bathroom and in my bedroom, and my landlords do not want to have it tested, they claim it is mildew because the wall is not soft. An expert that we called informed us that mildew and mold are the same things and that they have to send it for testing. They never brought an expert here. My roommate and I want to move out now because we do not want to risk our health but they want to charge us.

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Consult with an attorney with landlord-tenant experience--it is likely not only that you have grounds to terminate the lease, but you also might be entitled to monetary compensation:

1) A lease is a contract and binds both parties (landlord and tenant)--if the landlord breaches it, that can provide grounds for recovering damages and potentially, for serious breaches, terminating the lease.

2) All landlords must provide rental premises fit for their intended purpose--e.g. to live in. Conditions like a lack of heat or significant mold can violate this requirement, and again, provide a basis for monetary compensation and for terminating the tenancy.


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