What can I do about having bad wiring in the house that I rent?

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What can I do about having bad wiring in the house that I rent?

It’s a fire hazzard and my landlord won’t fix it.

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is what is known as an "implied warranty of habitability" in every residential lease. Basically, this means that every tenant must be provided a safe and sanitary place in which to live. In your premises there are obvious safety issues. If your landlord refuses to repair or correct the condition you should contact you locality's Zoning Code Enforcement office and/or the Fire Inspector. They will come and, if the situation warrants, issue code violations against your landlord.

Further, if your landlord still fails to remedy the situation, you could repair the items yourself and deduct the cost from your rent (probably too costly in this case), withhold your rent, or even terminate your lease. However, before taking any of these steps you need to make sure that you are in compliance with the law. If it comes down to it, you will need to consult with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant matters or at least contact a tenant's rights organization (many have hotlines that you can call).

Note: If you need to move out while repairs are being made, your lanlord is responsible for reimbursing for reasonable expenses that you incur as a result (motel, meals, etc.)


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