What to do if every times it rains the basement in my rental floods?

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What to do if every times it rains the basement in my rental floods?

When I moved into the house I asked my landlord if there was anything wrong with the basement. He said no but there was a humidifier in the basement that is still there 9that should have been a hint). I called him several times and no reply.

Asked on May 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should speak with a landlord-tenant attorney in detail about your situation; from what you write, you probably have grounds to seek monetary compensation (e.g. a rent reduction or abatement), can likely seek a court order forcing the landlord to make repairs to remediate the situation, and may be able to rescind or terminate the lease without penalty. (The exact remedies which will be appropriate will depend on the exact facts--e.g. how severe is the flooding.)

There are two potential legal grounds for action:

First, every lease has added to it by law what's known as the "implied warranty of habitability," which is the obligation on the landlord to provide rental premises that are fit and usable for their intended purpose. Flooding, depending on the location and severity can clearly violate this warranty. Violation of this warranty can give rise to a claim for monetary compensation, provide grounds to seek a court order directing repair, or even provide a basis for terminating the lease.

Second, if you specifically asked the landlord whether there was anything wrong with the basement and, knowing that there was a flood problem, he told you "no," the landlord may have committed fraud--misrepresented (or lied about) a material (or important) fact. Fraud can provide grounds for damages or to rescind a contract/lease.


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