Can I ask for a refund of rent if my unit lacks hot water and building code violations have not been fixed?

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Can I ask for a refund of rent if my unit lacks hot water and building code violations have not been fixed?

I moved into the location 5 months ago. It was not ready and still needed work so I had to stay at a hotel for an additional week. Both myself and the contractor gave the landlord a list of items that needed to be fixed; most of them have not been done. There are many building code violations that these repairs involve. I have also been without hot water for about 2 weeks, which his office notified him of within 2 days. On the first he was demanding rent and claimed he never received the message but would call someone. I have been down twice so far this week and no one has fixed the problem yet. What are my rights in this matter?

Asked on July 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When you rent an apartment there is implicit in the contract (lease agreement) a warranty given by the landlord that the apartment is habitable.  If the apartment becomes uninhabitable then the landlord is said to have breached the warranty of habitability.  You then have the right to go down to the landlord tenant court in your area and to ask that you be permitted to pay your rent in to court until the problem or problems are fixed and to ask for an abatement (reduction) in the rent for the time period that the problems exist or existed.  This is the best way to get the landlord moving.  He will want his money. Good luck to you. 


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