If a pipe burst under the house yesterday and my landlord has been notified but done nothing, what my rights are reguarding this?

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If a pipe burst under the house yesterday and my landlord has been notified but done nothing, what my rights are reguarding this?

I have a landlord that does not like to fix issues with the rental house I live in. It took 2 years to get the holes in the roof fixed and the resulting holes and damage to the inside of the house have never been repaired. As of right now, we have no water and he is still deciding what he is going to do.

Asked on April 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires a landlord to maintain the premises in habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord as you have done regarding the burst pipe and no water in your rental.  The landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs. 

If the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time, the tenant has the following options when there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability:  The tenant can make the repairs (have a plumber make the repairs in your situation) and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.  Another alternative is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability. Contacting the local housing code inspector is another option if the water isn't promptly restored.  Not having water in your rental would be a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  Restoring the water by making the necessary repairs should be done promptly by the landlord.


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