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.
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.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).