It can be hard to know what is considered unsafe living conditions. Think your rented space may qualify, but you’re not sure? Use this article as a guideline!
What are unsafe living conditions?
As a tenant, you have the legal right to live in a rental unit with basic necessities of structural, health, and safety standards met. The specific criteria for what counts as an uninhabitable living situation varies depending on state laws, local laws, housing codes, and your lease.
If you have more specific questions, please be sure to read on the laws for your area or seek legal help. Low Income Relief is a team of researchers and can’t give legal advice, but our friends at JustAnswer may be able to help! Click here to chat with a lawyer now.
What is considered unsafe living conditions?
Generally, the problem with your living situation must be specific, serious, and a danger to your health and/or safety. If you have caused the problem yourself through carelessness, neglect, or by doing it on purpose, it does not count as an unsafe living condition. You must inform your landlord about the problem in advance and grant them the minimum number of days (according to state law) to fix it.
Below is a list of situations that generally count in most states as being unsafe living conditions.
- Unsafe or broken walls and roofs
- Unclean or unsafe common areas (such as stairs)
- Broken or missing appliances (such as ovens)
- Not adhering to occupancy limits
- Rodent, insect, or mold infestations
- Health and safety violations
- Improper sewage disposal
- Not ensuring fire protection
- Not addressing legal nuisances (such as drug dealing) happening on the property
What should I do if my rental unit has unsafe living conditions?
If you’re certain that your rental unit has unsafe living conditions, here are a few ways you can go about addressing it:
- Withhold rent
- Sue the landlord for the difference between your monthly rent and the value of the unit with the defects
- File a complaint with local or state health or building inspectors, who may fine your landlord
- Repair the problem or hire someone to do so and deduct the cost from your rent
- Move out without giving the required amount of notice
How can I avoid moving into a rental unit with unsafe living conditions?
Here’s a few tips that you can keep in mind so that you can try to avoid moving into a unit with these unsafe conditions.
- Thoroughly inspect the property before moving in
- Review state and county laws
- Carefully read the lease or rental agreement to be aware of landlord expectations for rental and maintenance
- Speak to other tenants (either in person or online) about the conditions of the home and the landlord
- Check reviews online for the property
I have more questions about my living situation!
Don’t worry, we have a few articles you may be interested in.
- Click here for more articles related to landlords.
- Click here for more articles related to apartments.
- Click here for more articles related to housing.
- Click here for a ton of ways to save money.
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