What to do if for the last year we have been having repair issues with the septic tank?

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What to do if for the last year we have been having repair issues with the septic tank?

I have paid out of my pocket to have it pumped 2 times. It needs a new drainfeild put in and is currently open due to backing up in side the house. My landlord knows about it and has known for a long time. I have been paying partial rent at times and full payment the rest of the time. She refuses to fix the problem and is now thearting me with eviction. I had no other choice but to contact the local county code enforcement. Can she really have me evicted for not paying full rent?

Asked on December 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she can file an eviction action based upon your failure to pay the full rent. You in turn can try to raise as a defense that there was a violation of the implied warranty of habitability--the obligation that all rental premises be fit for their intended purpose (such as residence)--arising out of the sewage back-up; such a violation may entitle tenants, in some situations, to withhold rent, though they generally must have the rent and be willing to deposit the full shortfall with the court pending resolution of the issue. Since it's not always easy to successfully raise a defense based on the implied warranty of hababitability, you should consult with an landlord-tenant attorney who can evaluate the situation for you and advise you as to your best course of action.


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