Can I break my lease if my child keeps getting sick from the mold in my home and this has been verified by her doctor?

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Can I break my lease if my child keeps getting sick from the mold in my home and this has been verified by her doctor?

I have been living in my home for over a year now and I am always asking my landlord to remove the mold from my bathroom. I have also asked to have the carpets cleaned as they were due to be cleaned before I moved in. I also had an incident of bed bugs from an appliance he brought in my home and he did his own extermination, however, they are showing up again and I now have carpet beetles. I have advised my landlord of all of these things and he is still sitting on his behind not doing anything.

Asked on May 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You may have grounds to terminate your lease without penalty and also to seek monetary compensation (such as a retroactive rent abatement or reducution for that period of time you were living with these conditions). All leases have what is known as the "implied warranty of habitability," which is the requirement that the rental premises be fit for their intended use--in this case, safe and healthy habitation. Conditions, like serious mold conditions or pest infestations which violate this warranty (i.e. which make the premises unhealthy or unsafe to live in) can give the tenant the grounds to terminate the lease and/or seek monetary compensation if the landlord has not corrected the problem after notice of it and a reasonable chance to do so.

Whether a given condition rises to the level of breaching this warranty depends on how serious it is, which is best evaluated by an experienced attorney. You should meet with a landlord-tenant attorney to discuss the situation and your options--again, not just if you can move out, but also the monetary compensation to which you may be entitled.


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