If my landlord won’t fix a leak in the shower and now mold is showing up, what are my options?

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If my landlord won’t fix a leak in the shower and now mold is showing up, what are my options?

Asked on June 18, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First of all, residential leases contain what is�called an "implied warranty of habitability"; this is a kind of guarantee. Basically, it means that a lanlord is legally required to give their tenant a�safe and sanitary�place to live. If not, then�the landlord has breached the lease.

Mold can be a serious health issue,not to mention that you have the right to have the shower leak repaired.�What you need to do is to call the department of health and see�if they�will send an inspector out to view it. Then, you can do�1 of 3 things:��

  1. repair the problem and deduct the cost from�your rent;
  2. withhold�your rent until the landlord repairs the problem;
  3. or, under certain circumstances, break your lease.

Note: If you want to break your lease you can't simply move out. That would leave you in breach and this could open you up to money damages.�

What you'll need to do is to go down to housing court (it's called different things in different states) and ask that an action for breach of the warranty of habitability be started.�The court�may or may not have you pay your rent into an escrow fund; it will then allow the landlord to take care of the problem (you may be relocated until it is fixed). If they cannot remedy the situation, you can ask that the court to terminate the lease.

Here is a link to a site that will give you more info:


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