Can I terminate lease without giving more time if I a terminating due to failure to maintain applicable building, housing and safety codes?

UPDATED: May 16, 2012

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Can I terminate lease without giving more time if I a terminating due to failure to maintain applicable building, housing and safety codes?

In my lease it states that he will have an oven installed by a date that was 5 1.2 months ago. I still don’t have a completely functioning oven. What I do have is 5 open wall sockets; 1 exposing wiring and hanging out of the wall. He has bought the materials but has not completed. I have exposed wiring in lthe iving room ceiling due to no fixtures. He has the fixtures but they too are not installed. My bathroom sink does not have running hot water but does have exposed piping that leads outside and exposed damaged wood that also leads to the outside. I believe I have given ample time as per applicable law. My mother lives next door with the same landlord. She left a list of things to repair, made copy for herself but he has not complied. Her shower is unusable due to an exposed wall structure due from water damage. This was 1 of the requests in her notes. I also believe that she has given ample time. Can we both terminate leases due to non-compliance and code violations without giving him 7 days to fix problems?

Asked on May 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You and your mother should retain a landlord-tenant attorney to help you.

You may well have grounds to terminate the leases, for breach of contract (lease) and breach of the implied warranty of habitability; the elements you describe for your home (oven not working; exposed electric; lack of lights; no hot water in a sink) may rise to a level justifying termination of your lease without penalty, since they may make the premises fundamental unfit for its intended purpose (a residence). It is somewhat less clear in regards to your mother's apartment that the conditions are sufficiently bad, but is at least plausible.

It would be benefical to consult with experienced counsel, however, since if the conditions do not rise to a sufficient level to warrant termination of your lease, you could find yourself liable to your landlord.

Also, you may be entitled to monetary compensation (rent abatement) for the period of time you have been living with these deficient conditions--i.e. an amount of money equivalent to the difference between the rent you are paying and the apartments' value in the shape they are in--and an attorney can help you recover this compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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