What is my legal remedy regarding the non-repair of a leaky roof that is possibly causing mold?

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What is my legal remedy regarding the non-repair of a leaky roof that is possibly causing mold?

The roof on my apartment has leaked in excess of 3 months. I have contacted the landlord about making necessary repairs. There have been several parties coming by to look at the issue; however, no repairs have begun. Numerous rainy days this spring have compounded this problem. More recently, I have begun to notice a moldy, musty smell in the residence and on my clothes, personal property and furniture. I suspect that mold has began to grow in the walls. My later attempts to contact the landlord have not been responded to. My lease is up in 3 months, and I do not plan to renew it. What options do I have to remedy this situation?

Asked on May 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All leases come with what is known as an implied warranty of habitability--a term added  to the lease (even if not written into it) that the premises will be inhabitable and usable for its purpose (e.g. residence). While this does not cover minor problems, large leaks and mold are usually considered to be things that a landlord must correct. Possible remedies or recourse include being able to terminate the lease early; being able to force the landlord to make repairs; making repairs yourself and deducting the cost from rent; or monetary compensation. However, it can be tricky to implement these remedies, since doing so improperly can result in the tenant being liable to the landlord for one or another breaches of the lease or nonpayment of rent. It is advisable to consult with a landlord-tenant attorney before taking any action. Good luck.


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