Can you break a lease due to cockroaches?

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Can you break a lease due to cockroaches?

My son and his girlfriend rented an apartment 2 days ago. The landlord didn’t do a walk-through and there are several things that need fixed and the big issues is they have noticed cockroaches. They signed a 6 month lease but due to all the conditions they want out now. Do they have any options?

Asked on October 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Every residential lease has what is known as an "implied warranty of habitability". Accordingly, if your son's living conditions become uninhabitable, he may be able to break his lease and move out, so long as he can prove that the cockroach infestation is negatively affecting his health. Before doing so however (or anything else for that matter - withholding rent, etc.), he should consult directly with a local attorney. If he fails to follow proper legal procedure, his landlord could claim that the infestation was caused by him. They could then sue your son in court for illegally breaking his lease and collect all remaining rent. He needs to make sure that he has evidence to back up his claims.


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