Can we get out of our lease if the landlord has not fixed the problems that effect everyday use?

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Can we get out of our lease if the landlord has not fixed the problems that effect everyday use?

We have lived in here for 3 weeks We do not get hot water more than 5 minutes in a shower which is hard when 3 of us need to take one; the first person can not even make it past 5 minutes before it gets cold. Also, we have a water always running in our toilet, even after the valve was turned off it keeps running which will higher our water bill that we pay to the tenant and these problems have been notified to them multiple times.

Asked on May 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every lease, there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes. When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord as you have done and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  Not having hot water would constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  The toilet running would probably not be sufficient to constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  When the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs, the tenant has the following remedies for a breach of the implied warranty of habitability: The tenant can make the repairs (call a plumber) and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.  Another alternative is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  You might also want to contact your local housing code inspector, who can bring an enforcement action against the landlord to remedy housing code violations.

Not all maintenance problems rise to the level of a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.


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