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time (presumably seven days). Remember, you have the right to terminate only if the condition materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant, you have given proper notices, and you are not delinquent in paying your rent. See "Warning."

If you terminate the lease, you must move out. You can stop pay- ing rent on the day you move out or the date of termination (whichever is later). If you correctly terminate your lease, you are entitled to a refund of rent from the day you terminated the lease or moved out, if you paid rent in advance. You may also use your security deposit to pay any rent that is owed, and you can do this without having to go to court. If you properly terminate the lease, you may still sue the landlord for one month's rent plus $500, actual damages, attorney's fees, and court costs. However, if you terminate your lease, you cannot sue to obtain a reduction in rent or to have the condition repaired, nor can you exercise any repair and deduct remedies discussed below.

When you move out, the landlord must return your security deposit unless she has reason to deduct an amount from the deposit (such as for damage you caused to the premises). Your landlord cannot keep your security deposit solely because you terminated the lease under these circumstances. If your landlord does not refund the unearned portion of your rent or wrongfully withholds your security deposit, you may wish to file suit against her. See "Security Deposits."

(b) Using Repair and Deduct This remedy involves many procedures and conditions, and it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney or tenants association before you attempt to use your right to repair and deduct.

In certain circumstances, a tenant can hire a contractor to repair a condition that affects health or safety after giving the required notices and waiting a reasonable time. The tenant is allowed to deduct the money paid to the contractor from the NEXT month's rental payment. See "Warning." However, repair and deduct can be used ONLY if one of the following occurs:

  • the landlord has failed to remedy the backup or overflow of raw sewage inside the dwelling, or flooding from broken pipes or natural drainage inside the dwelling;

  • the landlord has agreed to furnish water and the water has stopped;

  • the landlord has agreed to furnish heating or cooling and the equipment is not working adequately, and the landlord has been notified in writing by a local health, housing, or building official that the lack of heating or cooling materially affects health or safety of an ordinary tenant; or

  • the landlord has been notified in writing by a local health, housing, or building official that the condition materially affects health or safety of an ordinary tenant.


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