If our landlord won’t fix the electrical problems in our house, how can we get out of the lease?

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If our landlord won’t fix the electrical problems in our house, how can we get out of the lease?

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with state and local housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  When the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time and make the necessary repairs, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.  Another alternative is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  The electrical repairs would constitute a safety hazard and therefore would be a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  It would also be advisable to contact your local housing code inspector, who will take action against the landlord for code violations.


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