Can i break my lease if the landlord has not repaired the roof leak in my apartment despite my asking them to on many occasions?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Atlanta, GA

I called my landlord on at least 10 occasions asking that the roof be fixed because during heavy rains it leaks into my apartment. They have not done so, the leak is still there.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Brian E. Daughdrill

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . This type of question is one of the most commonly asked questions. The standard for "constructive eviction" is that the landlord's failure to repair has effectively rendered the property uninhabitable. It is not a standard that is easily met. Inconvenience, annoyance and even some amount of actual damage to your personal property does not rise to this level. In 10 years of litigating landlord tenant matters (and in the years prior to that as a licensed broker), I have only seen a judge make a finding of constructive eviction in a handful of cases. More often than not, what the tenant must do is sue for breach of contract (i.e. that the space as is with leaks is not worth what is being paid under the lease (i.e. if your lease is for $1000 a month and a lower quality place is $800, then the difference in value is your measure of damages). You can send a letter to the landlord notifying them that they are, you believe, in breach of the lease and that you will be seeking legal redress if they do not fix the property within X-number of days (typically 10 days is reasonable). You can notify them, depending on your lease, that you will effect repairs yourself and deduct it from the rent (self help) but the cost to do that may be more than you wish to incur. If the landlord does not effect repairs, you file a claim in magistrate court for the diminished value of the leasehold.

    Nothing in this posting may be deemed to create an attorney client relationship. If you wish to discuss this matter with our firm, please contact us in private.

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