What are my rights and options if part of my rental has been rendered unlivable?

UPDATED: Jun 20, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Jun 20, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my rights and options if part of my rental has been rendered unlivable?

We are currently renting a house. The landlords are redoing the roof and they have removed the chimney for repair. It has rained the past week a half and they did not cover up the hole where the chimney was. Therefore it has leaked through the roof into one bedroom and drenched the wall and insulation. We have now had to remove all the belongings from that room and seal it off from the rest of the house; the smell will give you a headache from being in the room for 30 minutes. The landlord will not look at it or fix it.

Asked on June 20, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

All leases come with what is known as an "implied warranty of habitability." This is term, added to all leases, that the rented premises will be fit and safely inhabitable for their intended purpose--in this case, residence. While minor problems (e.g. small crack in a window) would not violate this warranty, major problems, like a large leak causing bad smells and requiring you to seal off a room, would seem to; and if the warranty is violated, the tenant may sue for compensation, to get out of the lease, and/or to force the landord to make repairs. Also, if any of your belongings were damaged by the water due to the landlord's (and his contractors') negligence, you may be able to sue for their value. So  you have rights, and you should discuss with an attorney (preferably one with landlord-tenant experience) how best to vindicate them and how much compensation you may seek.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption