Can we break lease with no recourse if we have mice in the walls?

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Can we break lease with no recourse if we have mice in the walls?

Our current rental has mice in the walls. An exterminator has been called but they have done very little to actually remedy the situation. The landlord is aware of the lack of service from the exterminator, and it has been 7 weeks since I first notified the landlord. It took the landlord 4 weeks to even get exterminator information for me to contact to look at the problem. The problem is not resolved and it does not seem that much is being done to help us.

Asked on November 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have several options. Every residential lease contains an implied "warranty of habitability". This is essentially a guarantee that a landlord gives a tenant that they will live in a clean and safe residence (i.e.(i.e. a "habitable" premises). Consequently, if your landlord fails to perform necessary maintenance and/or needed repairs, you can: 

  1. Repair the problem (exterminate) and then deduct the cost from your rent;
  2. Withhold your rent until the completion of the repair (extermination);
  3. Terminate your lease and vacate the premises.

You need to be aware, however, before pursuing any of these self-help measures, you should consult with an attorney that specializes in landlord-tenant cases. Failure to follow proper legal procedures can result in legal trouble for you.

Additionally, you should contact the health department and make a complaint.


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