If my apartment has not had hot water for 2 1/2 weeks, am I within my rights to withhold rent?

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If my apartment has not had hot water for 2 1/2 weeks, am I within my rights to withhold rent?

I have repeatedly asked for repairs.

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there is no hot water at the premises then this may be a case of "constructive eviction".  If you have to move out you may a legal claim for any costs you incur (such a hotel; extra travel time; storing belongings; etc.) and you can also get a court order allowing you to move back in after the situation has been corrected.  Additionally, there is the potential for you to recover your attorney's fees.  You may also be entitled to other remedies, depending upon specific state law. 

At the very least this is a breach of the "warranty of habitability". This is a right that is implied in every residential lease that provides that a tenant must be given a sanitary and safe rental premises. For this you have certain rights. Again, you tcanhe terminate your lease, as well as withhold rent until the repair is made,or make the repair yourself and the deduct the cost from your rent.

However, before doing anything you need to consult with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant matters. At the very least you need to speak with a tenants right advocacy group. If you attempt any of the above remedies you must be certain of your legal rights under your applicable state law. 


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