What legal action can I takeif mylandlord doesn’t fix a water damage/mold problem that occurred over 3 months ago?

UPDATED: Nov 9, 2011

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What legal action can I takeif mylandlord doesn’t fix a water damage/mold problem that occurred over 3 months ago?

I have made several attempts and notifications to have it fixed or another resolution. All have been basically disregarded and the texture and paint are starting to peel away from the ceiling now as the problem continues to get worse. I haven’t paid rent yet. What are my rights as far as this goes? I’m sure it is a health and fire code violation.

Asked on November 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You may have a claim for a breach of the "warranty of habitability". This is a guarantee that is implied in every residential lease. What this means is that a tenant must be given a safe and sanitary residence in which to live. There are several options for such a breach. You can: terminate your lease; withhold rent until the repairs are made; or make the repair yourself and the deduct the cost from the rent.

At this point, you should consult directly with an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant matters. You could also contact a tenants' right advocacy group in your area. If you attempt any of the above self-help measures, you must be certain of your rights under state law. The consequence of wrongfully employing any of these remedies could cost you.  

Finally, to the extent you think that this situation constitutes a health or safety code violation, you should report it to the appropriate agency.

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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