Who should pay for a health hazard inspection?

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Who should pay for a health hazard inspection?

My tenant signed a 1 year lease after coming to an open house. They moved in and sign the check-in walk through. The 2nd day, they realized thatthere was a lot of stagnant water in the basement due to a broken pipe under the kitchen. They called me and I am having the issue fixed: water removed and pipe changed. There is no mold in the house, but they smell something. My previous tenant didn’t smell anything and me either. Howeverthey are very worrried about a health hazard due to the stagnant water, even after it was removed as the mud could smell also.

Asked on July 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If the water, which may possibly give rise to a health issue, is due to something which the tenant did--for example, the pipe burst because the tenant tried to do his or her own plumbing work and failed--then the tenant should be responsible. But if the tenant were not responsible for the condition, then the landlord has to take care of the situation; all leases have what's known as an "implied warranty of habitability," which obligates the landlord to make sure the premises are safely and healthily habitable. If you truly think there's no issue, that's a different story--you don't have to spend money to pacify a hysterical tenant. But if there is some condition or risk or needed inspection, unless the tenant caused the situation, it's the landord's responsibility.


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