DoI still owe rent ifI had to move out of my rentaldue to a mold issue?

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DoI still owe rent ifI had to move out of my rentaldue to a mold issue?

I found at least a 5×11 patch of black mold in the house we rent. I moved all my stuff out and moved my wife and kids to my parents. I rented a U-haul and a storage unit. I had to get my fmily out because they all have been having trouble with coughing andcan’t get rid of it. I think it’s because of the black mold in the kids’ area. My landlord is saying that he is going to sue us because we weren’t able to pay rent due to having to pay to move our things. I want to know what he is responsible for and what I’m responsible for.

Asked on December 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In every lease, there is an implied warranty of habitability, which means that the landlord has to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  The mold is a health and safety issue and would constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  You could sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability.  When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant can move out as you did and terminate your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease.  If a tenant stays on the premises, despite a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.

If the landlord files a lawsuit against you for the rent, your argument is that the landlord breached the implied warranty of habitability by not taking measures to get rid of the mold.  Since this was a health and safety issue and constituted a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, your remedy was to move out and terminate your obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease.  This should be your argument in the event of a lawsuit filed against you by the landlord.


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