What are my legal obligations if I move out of my rental home that has city code violations?

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What are my legal obligations if I move out of my rental home that has city code violations?

After waiting 2 months for my landord to make repairs to our home I became concerned that some of the issues were against city codes. I contacted the City code enforcement to come inspect the home. I do not have the actualy report yet, but based off the converstation there are many violations. Based off these violations am I able to move out of the home and end my lease without being legally obligated to pay the remainder of the lease. Also the landlord never made a copy of the lease and gave me the only signed copy, will this effect any obligations as well?

Asked on August 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 8 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 state and local 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.  When the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs 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.  Since you have contacted the local housing code inspector, the inspector can bring an enforcement action against the landlord for housing code violations.  The fact that the landlord does not have a copy of the lease will not affect your claim for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.

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

Answered 8 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 state and local 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.  When the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs 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.  Since you have contacted the local housing code inspector, the inspector can bring an enforcement action against the landlord for housing code violations.  The fact that the landlord does not have a copy of the lease will not affect your claim for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.


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