Is there a law about leaving a disabled tenant without running water or at least an alternative place to stay with running water for 5 days?

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Is there a law about leaving a disabled tenant without running water or at least an alternative place to stay with running water for 5 days?

A pipe burst in my basement that sent me to the hospital with a major anxiety attack. The landlord then texted my son and said her partner in business and her family would be out of town for a wedding and that I would be without water for the weekend. This was on Friday and was not repaired until HUD again contacted her on Tuesday. I am disabled and had to resort to staying with my mother and son in her 1 bedroom apartment. I need to know if this is legal and what can I do about it?

Asked on October 5, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry about the problems that happened.  The landlord breached what is known as the warranty of habitability, which is a warranty that states that the apartment that you occupy is fit for occupation.  An apartment with out running water is not fit for occupation.  I think that you can ask the court to allow you an abatement  - reduction - of your rent for the time that you were out and inconvenienced.  Now that the problem is fixed I do not think that you can ask to have the Court declare the lease void.  Had they not fixed the problem them maybe that would have been an option.  Good luck.


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