How can we get out of my unbearable apartment as quick and as cheap as possible?

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How can we get out of my unbearable apartment as quick and as cheap as possible?

They are taking advantage of us because we are young parents. We are willing to pay the reletting fee if we have to. In the lease it states that failure to comply with service charges multiple times gives us right to terminate the lease agreement. We have multiple violations of those ranging from not fixing our back door which was broken when we moved in, to not repainting the kitchen after a pipe above us broke and flooded our apartment. Is there anyway we have a case here?

Asked on May 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every lease, there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  When the landlord fails to make the necessary repairs within a reasonable time, the tenant has the following options:  The tenant can make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.  Another alternative is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  Also, contacting the local housing inspector to start an enforcement action against the landlord for housing code violations is another alternative.

Not all maintenance problems rise to the level of a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  Not painting the kitchen is not a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  If the broken door endangers your security, that would constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  You said there were multiple violations.  If any of those other violations are health or safety hazards, they may constitute breaches of the implied warranty of habitability.


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