How can I get out of a lease due to health and safety concerns?

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How can I get out of a lease due to health and safety concerns?

I’m renting a house and want to get out of my lease. I have leaks every where – my roof and walls are cracking because the landlords don’t do anything about it. I call and call and they never return my calls. My bathroom, closet and another bedrooms power goes out every time it rains and they won’t fix the problem and I’ve dealt with it for the last 4 months. I’m afraid I’m going to have a fire and they don’t seem like it’s that big of a deal. I have a 8 month-old son and there’s black mole in my closet and other places in my house. The mold in my closet was exposed for 3 months before they just covered it up with drywall. What am I supposed to do? How can I get out of this house?

Asked on August 15, 2011 Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

All leases have what is known as an "implied warranty of habitabilty" added to them. This is the requirement that the leased premises be fit for its intended purpose--in this case, habitation. If it is not, the tenant may be entitled to damages (i.e. monetary compensation) and to also break the lease and move out without penalty. From what you right, you would seem to be a good candidate for both. Because trying to break a lease, even when justified can be tricky (and if you do it wrong, you end up liable to the landlord) and because you may be entitled to monetary damages, you should consult with an attorney and let the lawyer help you. If you can't afford an attorney, try contacting legal services. Good luck.


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