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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 36164
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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I entered into a residential lease contract last year in

Customer Question

I entered into a residential lease contract last year in Fort Wayne, IN. Since day one we have had issues since day 1 and would like to get out of our lease contract early. I have spoken with the landlord and she is unwilling to allow an early termination of the contract. I am wanting to know if there is anything that I can do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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What are the issues that you are experiencing?

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Do they affect the habitability of the property?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The landlord and myself agreed to a move in date. We went to move in on that date and there was broken glass on the floor and window sills in multiple rooms, (I have an 8 year old fyi) on the move in date the garage was over half-filled with trash and remodel debris, on one particular occasion I set an appointment with her to have some work done which required me to leave my uncle's funeral 2 hours early and no one ever showed, the pipes have frozen in the kitchen multiple times this winter and she explained that it is due to how the house is built and there isn't an issue with it (this resulted in a 5 day wait for a fix at one point). On top of this there are multiple issues that have not been addressed and she refuses to allow me to speak with the actual owner to see what can be done.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, on the move in date, there were many more issues but those were the most important in my opinion.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 year ago.

Ok, trash and debris on the floor and broken glass wouldn't make a property legally uninhabitable as that is something that could easily be cleaned up. In order for a property to be considered uninhabitable so as to allow a tenant to terminate and move without repercussions there have to be big problems, like sewer backups, electrical outages, no working heat or water.

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So the frozen pipes could potentially be grounds to terminate if the landlord didn't take steps to cure the problem when you notified them about the pipes. "Due to how the house is built" is not a logical excuse as the pipes can always be insulated or wrapped in electrical pipe heating tape.

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Under IN law (Indiana Code §32-31-8-5, §32-31-8-6) the landlord has to do the following:

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Deliver the premises in a safe, clean, and habitable condition

· Comply with all health and housing codes applicable to the rental premises

· Make all reasonable efforts to keep common areas of a rental premises in a clean and proper condition

· Provide and maintain the following items in a premises in good and safe working condition, if provided on the premises at the time the rental agreement is entered into:

o Electrical systems

o Plumbing systems sufficient to accommodate a reasonable supply of hot and cold running water at all times

o Sanitary systems

o Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. A heating system must be sufficient to adequately supply heat at all times.

o Appliances supplied as an inducement to the rental agreement

With that said, if the landlord is violating the above, you can file suit against the landlord for breach of contract and seek damages if you notify them of the problems in writing and they fail to correct within a reasonable time..

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Ind. Code § 32-31-8-6

(a) A tenant may bring an action in a court with jurisdiction to enforce an obligation of a landlord under this chapter.
(b) A tenant may not bring an action under this chapter unless the following conditions are met:
(1) The tenant gives the landlord notice of the landlord's noncompliance with a provision of this chapter.
(2) The landlord has been given a reasonable amount of time to make repairs or provide a remedy of the condition described in the tenant's notice. The tenant may not prevent the landlord from having access to the rental premises to make repairs or provide a remedy to the condition described in the tenant's notice.
(3) The landlord fails or refuses to repair or remedy the condition described in the tenant's notice.
(c) This section may not be construed to limit a tenant's rights under IC 32-31-3, IC 32-31-5, or IC 32-31-6.
(d) If the tenant is the prevailing party in an action under this section, the tenant may obtain any of the following, if appropriate under the circumstances:
(1) Recovery of the following:
(A) Actual damages and consequential damages.
(B) Attorney's fees and court costs.
(2) Injunctive relief.
(3) Any other remedy appropriate under the circumstances.
(e) A landlord's liability for damages under subsection (d) begins when:
(1) the landlord has notice or actual knowledge of noncompliance; and
(2) the landlord has:
(A) refused to remedy the noncompliance; or
(B) failed to remedy the noncompliance within a reasonable amount of time following the notice or actual knowledge;
whichever occurs first

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So based on your comments, it doesn't appear as though you would currently have legal grounds to terminate the lease without potential repercussions..

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thanks

Barrister