What can I do to protect myself and get out of my lease at a potentially unsafe house with no heat?

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What can I do to protect myself and get out of my lease at a potentially unsafe house with no heat?

I’m renting a house. The unit was rented “as is” though they agreed to provide heat and most major things but it is badly damaged and in very poor care. However we have had 2 people come and try to make the furnace work and they both say its unsafe (not to mention many other things that might not be up to code). There is also a gaping hole in the siding of the house which was hidden. If the landlord does not fix the heat before winter, what can I do to get out of my lease?

Asked on September 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

While you should speak with an attorney before doing anything, from what you write, it would appear that you may be entitled to either terminate the lease without penalty and/or be entitled to monetary compensation. That is because all leases come with what is known as an "implied warranty of habitability," even when no such thing is mentioned in the lease; this implied warranty requires that the premises be fit for its intended purpose--e.g. residence. Conditions--like a lack of heat, a dangerous furnace, or large holes that let the elements in--may violate this warranty; and when it is violated, the tenant may be able to get monetary compensation or get out of the lease. It's important to consult with a lawyer both to make sure you get the most money possible, if appropriate, and because if you try to terminate the lease the wrong way, you can end up liable to the landlord.


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