So my fiancee and I are wanting to move because for the past week we've had no hot water. We talked to our landlord the day it happened (last Tuesday), and after 3 days (Wed-Fri) of failure to repair it by the maintenance man, we were supposed to receive a new heater yesterday and didn't. We called both today with no response and for us that was enough, so we've found another place, ready to go and want to move out this week.
Are we still required to provide 30 days notice and the full month of may's rent? (We have not sent the rent check out yet) This unit is uninhabitable for us, and we have the option to move immediately. We are month to month currently (our year lease ended Oct last year), and don't mind paying for the time remaining here, but don't want to pay the full amount.
The landlord does not have the right to demand payment of rent while failing to provide hot water to residential tenants, and the obligation to pay rent is suspended while that condition remains. If May and June rent is equal to thousands of dollars and you are concerned about your rights to the security deposit, you should contact a landlord-tenant attorney to help you negotiate with the landlord.
Dear do we still have to give 30 days' notice?
Perhaps I might help.
You described a condition, a lack of hot water, which could be argued as a defense to a landlord claim for nonpayment of rent based upon a breach of the implied warranty of habitability.
Document your "abandonment" of the dwelling in a letter to the landlord. The letter should recite the facts of the landlord's failure to provide hot water, the promises made to remedy the condition and the broken promise to provide the hot water heater. The failure of the owner to provide the essential service of "hot water" may support a reasonable claim that you were required to abandon the home and support a defense of constructive eviction, if the landlord subsequently pursues you for rent not paid.
There is no way to pay a per diem rent for the time in this month that you remained in the apartment before moving. Absent an agreement between you and the landlord that you may safely move by prorating rent for May 2012, there is no rationale to pay anything in this month. May 2012 is when this problem began and if the failure to provide hot water is the reason you are moving without greater notice than in your letter, there is no reason to pay at this time.
If you have not done so, document your complaints relating to the lack of habitability by writing a letter to the landlord. Prepare a few duplicate signed letters. Address envelopes to the landlord, and insert a signed letter, into two envelopes. Do the same for two more letters you address to yourself.
At the USPS, mail two envelopes to the landlord one via certified mail with a return receipt request and one by regular first class mail with a certificate of mailing. Mail the two envelopes addressed to you in the same manner. Keep all your receipts and copies of the signed letters for your records. You may be able to gain your landlord's attention.
The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.
You may also want to check with the City of Rochester's Department of Buidings to see if they have an office that oversees landlord tenant complaints (if you are living in a multiple dwelling - defined as being three or more distinct residential units) in apatment buildings. Filing a complaint against the landlord for failing to provide an essential service that breaches the warranty of habitability will help document your good faith reason for moving out of the premises.
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