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If a landlord does not have a certificate of occupancy, can

Resolved Question:

If a landlord does not have a certificate of occupancy, can they legally sign a lease with that tenant? Is that lease binding?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 7 years ago.
The lease can be signed BUT the certificate of occupancy needs to be obtained prior to the start of the lease. If the landlord is unable to get a certificate of occupancy, they would likely be in breach of the signed lease, that being the implied warranty of habitability.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
So the land lord does not currently have a certificate of occupancy. The lease started almost a month ago. However they plan to have an inspection at some point in the future. Assuming that the landlord did get the certificate after the start of the lease (say 2 months into the lease), would that lease still be binding?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 7 years ago.

The implied warranty of habitability assures a tenant that the landlord is providing a safe place to live. If the certificate of occupancy has yet to be obtained, it could be determined that there are structural defects, that do not make the rental property safe. If it is not safe, there could be a breach. If the landlord gets the COO and after you continue to pay rent and he accepts it, the lease would them be binding.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
So. My land lord currently does not have a COO. I know they are having that inspection at the end of november. It seems that I can stop paying rent and move out. Do I need to contact hire legal councel? Can they withhold my security deposit?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 7 years ago.

You need to make the landlord aware of your intent to move out and the reason that you feel he/she is in breach of the lease agreement. Give the landlord 30 days notice and vacate after. If the landlord does not agree that he is in breach of the lease, he may decide to hold your security deposit. If he does, you will likely need to sue him to recover it. It is best to do this the right way, so you may want to retain an attorney to write a letter to the landlord and see how he responds. If he knows you have an attorney, he may be willing to allow you to move out without a fight and return the security deposit.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I dont have much money. Can you recomend anyone?
Expert:  LegalKnowledge replied 7 years ago.
I do not know anyone specifically. Here is a link that you can use to find a lawyer in your area. Call a few attorneys and find one that is affordable and that you feel comfortable with.
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