Can I file a lawsuit to recoup rent paid on a apartment that was never permitted or inspected?

UPDATED: Mar 8, 2012

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Can I file a lawsuit to recoup rent paid on a apartment that was never permitted or inspected?

For 6 years I have rented an apartment that was never inspected or permitted by the city which and doesn’t exist. Code violations are egress, ventilation/air circulation, and the stairwell is much too steep. The ventilation is the one that has really caused distress. For 2 months a year it is 90 plus degrees inside, muggy, and barely livable. I have a window A/C unit but I have no vents. After repetitive attempts to make it right, it just simply comes down to code, and code wasn’t enforced.

Asked on March 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Mississippi


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you have lived in an illegal rental, there is the possibility that you might have a factual and legal basis to seek reimbursement from your landlord for the time period that you resided in the premises that you have written about. It all depends upon what state statutes are in effect with respect to the situation that you are writing about.

For example, some states have laws that in order to rent a unit, the unit has be certified as a legal unit and if it is rented as an illegal unit, then the tenant may be entitled to the return of past rent as a penalty to the landlord. I recommend that you consult with a landlord tenant attorney further to see if there is a statute in effect that would allow you the return of your past rent in the state where the illegal rental is located.

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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