Can I withhold rent due to a mouse infestation?
Question Details: My landlord said he is going to file to evict me tomorrow if I don't give him half of rent. I have told him multiple times that there is a mouse infestation in the apartment and I can't have it. I have a 5 month old whojust started crawling. I have seen them on my counter all over my apartment and now in my stove. I took the burners out and there was mouse feces under all the burners. I've been told out could be dangerous for my child and I if I were to cook on the stove because of toxins that are released. I need to know what my rights are.
In every lease there is an implied warranty of habitability which requires the landlord to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes. The health and safety issues you are facing with the mice constitute a breach of the implied warranty of habitability. When there is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, the tenant notifies the landlord as you have done and the landlord is required to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs. When the landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time, the tenant has the following remedies: The tenant can make the repairs (call a pest exterminator) and deduct the cost from the rent or the tenant can move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant stays on the premises, the tenant can withhold rent and defend against eviction. Another alternative is to sue the landlord for breach of the implied warranty of habitability. You can also contact the local housing code inspector who can bring an enforcement action against the landlord for housing code violations.