If we are currently leasing an apartment but there is mold growing in all the windows, can we get out of our lease?

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If we are currently leasing an apartment but there is mold growing in all the windows, can we get out of our lease?

We have cleaned the with bleach and it keeps coming back.

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

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In every residential lease there is what is known an "implied warranty of habitability". This requires a landlord to maintain rental premises in a habitable (i.e. safe and sanitary) condition; this is done by complying with all local and/or state housing codes. Mold such as you describe is a breach of that warranty since it is a health issue.

When there is such a breach, a tenant must notify their landlord of the problem (if you have not already done so, you need to now). The landlord is then required to respond within a reasonable time by taking the the necessary steps to resolve the situation. If the landlord fails to do so, then the tenant can choose to do the following: they can make the repairs and deduct the cost from the rent; they can move out and terminate their lease (which also terminates their rentl obligation for the balance of the term); or if they stay, they can withhold rent and defend against eviction.

Further the tenant can sue their landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability. Finally, they can contact the local housing code enforcement officer, who can bring an action against the landlord for violation of the housing code violation and compel the landlord to clear up the problem.

At this point, you should contact an attorney who handles these type cases or tenant's rights organization to be certain as how to proceed in your specific situation.


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