If a landlord revokes rights to balcony for about 2 months and requires a tenant to store furniture inside, is this a case for constructive eviction?

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If a landlord revokes rights to balcony for about 2 months and requires a tenant to store furniture inside, is this a case for constructive eviction?

Landlord sent written notices that major renovations were to begin on apartment building including window replacements and new siding. The landlord is requiring tenants to remove patio furniture from balconies and store furnishings indoors. Also, the tenant will not have access to their balcony for about 8 weeks. Tenants are being remind to shut blinds for privacy as the renovations are to take place but also the contractor is securing newly replaced windows with pink film for the duration of the renovations (about 8 weeks). Does this scenario fall under constructive eviction?

Asked on June 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Constructive eviction occurs when residential rental property is an uninhabitable condition. The uninhabitable condition makes the property unsuitable to live in, forcing the tenant to leave the property.  Although I can see how these renovations may be inconvenient they do not seem to be denying you use of the apartment, only the balcony. It does not stop your entry or egress, etc.,  And if the repairs are structural or required or improvements then the landlord may indeed have a right to do as you have stated.  I would, though, ask for an abatement of the rent given that a portion of the rented apartment is unusable for the 8 weeks.  Good luck.


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