What are our rights as tenants if we want to move out of dangerous unhealthy moldy apartment?

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What are our rights as tenants if we want to move out of dangerous unhealthy moldy apartment?

Our landlord is refusing and threatening to take us to court for the last 4 months of the rent. We have found a place and are moving anyway as our health and safety comes first. The leak was supposedly fixed 3 times already and we have had enough. We have decided to move without his permission so I need to know what we can do. We have taken pictures and sent letters as well as pictures.

Asked on February 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

All leases come with what's known as the "implied warranty of habitability"--a term added by law to the lease, which requires that the rental premises be fit for their intended purpose. In this case, that means that they be fit to live in. If there was sufficient mold of a type which can cause health problems, that can breach this warranty and provide grounds to terminate the lease early and/or seek compensation for the time you've lived with unhealthy conditions.

The issue is how serious was the situation: a minor or even moderate problem does not violate the warranty--only a problem bad enough to render the premises not safely habitable violates the warranty. Since the facts are so critical, you are advised to consult with a landlord-tenant attorney first, to evaluate the situation and your options, before acting.


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