What are my rights if I live in an apartment and I’ve recently discovered a lot of mold?

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What are my rights if I live in an apartment and I’ve recently discovered a lot of mold?

I told my landlord about it she said someone would be by to check on it and that it wasn’t a big deal. The apartment reeks of mold and no one has been by yet. Can we do anything about this?

Asked on June 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First of all, you can contact your local zoning enforcement officer or Board of Health. They will come and inspect your unit and if the situation warrants, issue a citation to your landlord. If your landlord fails to remedy the matter, they will then face fines (some of which can be quite steep).

Additionally, if after reasonable notice, your landlord still does not resolve the issue you may be able to: repair the problem and deduct the cost from you rent;  withold your rent until the repairs are made by your landlord, or terminate your lease.

The above actions would be based on the breach of the "warranty of habitability", which is a guarantee that is implied in every residential lease. This warranty provides that a tenant must be provided a safe and sanitary premises in which to live. However, if you attempt any of the above remedies be certain of your legal rights under applicable state statute; there can be costly consequences for failing to properly follow the law. At this point, you should consult directly with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant matters or, at the very least, contact a tenant's rights advocacy organization (many have telephone hotlines).


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