What costs should I be responsible forif I had to move out of my rental unit due to unhealthy and unsafe living conditions?

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What costs should I be responsible forif I had to move out of my rental unit due to unhealthy and unsafe living conditions?

I began renting an apartment 8 months ago. It’s been flooded and also been broken into twice in 2 months. I wrote a letter to my landlord letting her know that because of the safety of my children, I need to evacuate the apartment and would not like any penalties put against me. Upon vacancy I left the apartment in better condition than it was when I first moved in. I also enclosed copies of both police reports in my letter. Now I just received a letter from my landlord stating they are withholding my security deposit, they want the next 2 months rent, and that I must pay for the damages done to the apartment due to the break in. Should I be responsible for all of these charges if I am not the one who did the damage? And should I be responsible to pay rent in a place that I am no longer living in?

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation and I understand completely about the issues with the apartment.  And if you think that you and your children were in imminent harm then I can see you leaving right away.  But these issues will have to be litigated before  a judge because a lease is a contract and contracts that are breached - broken by one party - are enforceable by the other party.  You have valid complaints here: breach of warranty of safety and breach of warranty of habitability.  And you should ask for an abatement of the rent you paid while you were there. But you need to sue for the return of the security deposit, they will counter sue for the rent owed and damages and a court will decide the rest.  Good luck.


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