What can I do if my apartment flooded 6 days ago and my kitchen, livingroom and back storage room has been in sitting water since?

UPDATED: Nov 21, 2012

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What can I do if my apartment flooded 6 days ago and my kitchen, livingroom and back storage room has been in sitting water since?

I’m waiting on the lanlord to do something about it, however I’m still in the apartment with my 2 year pld and my 10 month old. It is now mildewed and the smell has become unbearable.

Asked on November 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Delaware


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In every residential lease there is what is called an "implied warranty of habitability" which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable (i.e. safe and sanitary) condition by complying with local/state housing codes. Mold/mildew as you describe is a breach of that warranty because it is a health issue.

When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, a tenant must notify their landlord (as you have done). The landlord is then required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs. If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant has the following options: The tenant can make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent; the tenant can move out and terminate their lease (which also terminates their obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term); or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction.

Additionally, you can sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability. Further, you can contact the local housing code inspector, who can then bring an enforcement action against the landlord for violation of the housing code violation and compel the landlord to clean up the problem.

What you need to do know is to consult with an attorney (or possibly a tenat's right group) who can more fully inform you as to your rights/remedies under the laws of your state.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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