Should I be responsible for paying my rent this month if my landlord has not upheld their end of the lease?

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Should I be responsible for paying my rent this month if my landlord has not upheld their end of the lease?

My landlord is, according to our lease, responsible for maintaning our well and pump. We currently dont have a pump at all and he is running a pipe from another home. We have made a complaint over a month ago and nothing was done about it. The water we do get is gross and we do not feel like we should be responsible for paying rent while the landlord is breaking his own lease.

Asked on July 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you can't not pay while living there. If the breach of the lease is sufficiently serious, and/or the condition of the water so bad as to render your premises not fit for residency (i.e. violates the "implied warranty of habitability"), you may have grounds to move out, claiming you were "constructively evicted," and terminate your lease without penalty. Alternately, depending on the severity of the situation, you could sue for monetary compenation ("rent abatement," or a pro rate reduction in rent, for the time period you've lived with this condition) or possibly repair the pump situation yourself and deduct the cost thereof from the lease. So you have several options, but residing there while not paying the rent at all is not one of them. You should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney to explore your options and recourse.


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