Does my landlord have to give me a discount on my rent if my unit was uninhabitable?

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Does my landlord have to give me a discount on my rent if my unit was uninhabitable?

A truck ran into my apartment and damaged the wall. I did not have insurance so I I was forced to continue to live in my apartment. I asked him for a discount and he said it was not his fault therefore he did not have to give me a discount. The apartment had a whole in the outside wall so I do not think that it was supposed to be livable.

Asked on May 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the inhabitability of your apartment is impaired, even if it is not due to the landlord's fault, he would have to provide a "discount"--more properly called a rent abatement--for the period of time that habitability or use of the premises was impaired or damaged; he also has to take reasonable steps to repair the conditions and restore habitability. This is because all leases come with what's often called the "implied warranty of habitability," or an obligation imposed on landlords by the law to provide rentals that are fit for their intended purpose (such as residence).

If the landlord will not fix the hole and will not compensate you for the impairment of habitability, you could sue him for monetary compensation and to get a court order directing him to repair the problem. The extent of compensation to which you would be entitled will depend on the size of the hole and its impact on your living conditions.


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