What to do if we have 3 young children in our home and we’ve had cockroaches for months and now have mold inside of our apartment?

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What to do if we have 3 young children in our home and we’ve had cockroaches for months and now have mold inside of our apartment?

They only sprayed windows by mold and nothing for bugs. Both mold and roaches are here and we keep bringing it up to them. Can we break our lease legally without having to pay the fee?

Asked on December 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You MAY be able to safely break your lease--and/or seek monetary compensation--but should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney before doing so. All rentals come with what is known as the "implied warranty of habitability," or the obligation on the landlord to provide rental premises "fit for their intended purpose," such as residence. Considtions, such as insect infestations or mold, which impair habitability can violate this warranty, by making the rental effectively uninhabitable; a violation of the warranty can justify compensation or termination of the lease. However, the conditions *must* be so bad as to make the premises effectively uninhabitable, since the landlord is not expected to provide perfect space--just safely and appropriately usable space. Since trying to break the lease when the conditions are not bad enough can lead to you being liable to the landlord for all the rent due under the remaining term of the lease, you should let a landlord-tenant attorney--someone knowledgeable and also objective--evaluate the situation before acting.


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