What can I do if the property manager of my apartment is failing to get maintenance performed in my unit?

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What can I do if the property manager of my apartment is failing to get maintenance performed in my unit?

I moved in 4 months ago and signed a 1 year lease. I have a window that is double paned and one pane was broken during a hail storm shortly after I moved in. Now it has mold and algae growing in it. About 2 weeks later, I discovered water damage to an exterior wall in the bedroom and the wall, floor, and anything stored against the wall were wet. There is now mold growing through the paint on the wall and down into the carpet. I have not pulled up the carpet to see how much mold is underneath. I have tied to remove the mold but it comes back. I have notified the property manager several times.

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Every residential lease has an implied "warranty of habitability".  This gives a tenant the right to live in a clean and safe premises.  Consequently, for a water/mold problem you can:

  • Repair and deduct - You can fix the problem and then charge your landlord for reimbursement; 
  • Withhold Rent - You can withhold any further rental payments until the heat is restored; or
  • Terminate your lease - You can choose to end your tenancy and move. 

You need to be aware, however, before attempting any of these self-help measures you should first consult with a landlord-tenant attorney. Failure to follow all proper legal procedures could result in liability for you.


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