What to do if there is something wrong with almost everything in the house that we rent?

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What to do if there is something wrong with almost everything in the house that we rent?

One of the things being the pool pump, my landlord said he would have replaced before we moved in but that was over 3 months ago and it has yet to be replaced. On the 1st of last month he said that he would use the rent money to replace it we’ve paid the rent twice since then. Now his latest email today says he is “still working on getting the money to replace the pump”. There are many other problems that need to be fixed too including heat, roaches, toilet leaking, etc. that I have been trying to get in touch with him about for over a month and today he finally emailed me back saying “he will” once again. Do I have enough reason to break the lease without penalty?

Asked on December 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As long as your landlord takes action in a reasonable amount of time after being notified of such conditions, then therereally isn't much that you can do. However, you have been dealing with issues for 3 months now.

Consequently, you could report these conditions to the local board of health, which has the authority to force your landlord to remedy the situation. Further, you may be able to either: repair the condition yourself and deduct the cost from your rent, withhold your rent until the landlord corrects the issues or terminate your lease.

The fact is that every lease has what is known as an implied "warranty of habitabilty". This means that a landlord must provide a tenant with a clean and safe (i.e. "habitable") premises in which to live. However, before taking any action, you should consult with an attorney that handles landlord-tenant cases. They can best advise as to the legal steps that you can take in your specific situation.


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