Can a landlord make us pay for a broken window lock and mold on walls?

UPDATED: Nov 10, 2011

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Can a landlord make us pay for a broken window lock and mold on walls?

Window was open upon inventory. When we moved into the house we shut it. But when we tried to open it again, it did not open. She is saying we are responsible even though the contractor who quoted us for the work said it is down to the wear and tear of the gear mechanism and we did not break it. We also have mould in our bedroom which she says is because we don’t leave the windows open. I dont think this is a reasonable request in cold weather.

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The issue is factual: IF you had broken the window lock (forced it open when it was sticking, slammed it too hard, etc.), then you would be responsible for it, though you are not responsible for wear and tear or an old mechanism. Similarly, if you caused the mold in some way (e.g. by taking really steamy, long showers without using a vent fan or opening windows, leading to a high level of humidity), you could be responsible, but not if the mold is due to a leak you didn't cause, bad ventilation in the unit, etc. From what you write, it is most likely that you should not be liable, but no legal dispute is ever certain, and getting into a fight with your landlord can have negative impacts on your tenancy; weigh how much she wants to charge you vs. those other issues before deciding what to do.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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