can I break a lease?

Asked by Lisa, Bogota, NJ Mon Oct 27, 2008

there are sewage gases coming out of drain in basement of single family house I'm renting (6 months into lease). It's been 6 weeks since I notified landlord and he has not come by to fix it. I'm concern about the health hazards. how long do I have to wait for himto fix problem. Can I break the lease and move out if he does not fix it. Can I notify the town about this. Any help or guidance is appreciated, thanks

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Diane Glander, Agent, Spring Lake, NJ
Mon Oct 27, 2008
BEST ANSWER
I am not an attorney, so you should check this advice with an attorney. However, I am basing my answer on information found in the NJ landlord tenant handbook. You can either have the problem repaired and deduct it from your rent, or withold any rent payments until the landlord remedies the problem.
The law states that for items that are health issues, the landlord has a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem. 6 weeks is not a reasonable amount of time in my opinion.
Your landlord should have given you a copy of this booklet. If he did not and you would like to receive one, contact me via trulia or my website and I'll send one out to you.
Web Reference:  http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes
Mott Marvin…, Agent, Sunny Isles Beach, FL
Mon Oct 27, 2008
Take a look at the New Jersey Landlord Tenant Act. The answers should be found there. A Landlord has an obligation to maintain a property at certain minimum standards.

here is a link;
http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/civil/civ-04.htm
1 vote
William Leigh…, , New Jersey
Mon Oct 27, 2008
Lisa: You can "break" the lease by moving out, if you like. You can also be sued for the balance of the lease payments. Will you? Who knows. You can also take action yourself under the law but I'd get legal counsel as to how you do that within the law. You can still be sued, because anyone can initiate a suit, they just don't always prevail.
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