We live in Maryland and had a 2 year lease. The finished basement flooded in September. It took the landlord over a week to have someone come out and dry it out. They refused the recommended treatment to ensure there was no mold. It then took them 3 months and a certified letter later to get the carpet replaced. Fast forward to May and we had additional water in the basement. We spoke to them on the phone and they said it would be fixed. We have not heard from them since. We have sent two certified letters without response. Our property has been damaged and the basement has a terrible smell. We are concerned for our health including our young kids. Can we leave and terminate the lease?
State/Country relating to question: Maryland
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. I would be happy to answer your question.
In the state of Maryland..........a tenant may withhold rent or terminate a lease due to the existence of any condition that creates a serious fire or safety hazard.
However, the tenant must comply with certain procedures in order to do so. The tenant must notify the landlord of the hazardous or dangerous conditions via certified mail and give the landlord a reasonable time to respond and fix the issues presenting the dangerous conditions.
If the landlord fails to correct the action, you may go to court and file a rent Escrow action asking to pay rent to the court instead of the landlord. The landlord and tenant would then be given the opportunity to present their side of the story to a judge. This may be useful in your situation as it would force the landlord to go before a judge to show why the corrections have not been done.
However in MD, you may also withhold rent without setting up an escrow account. This may cause the landlord to attempt to evict you via court action, but the landlord would then have to go to court and justify why the repairs have not been made in order to begin collecting rent again or to evict the tenant.
Here is a link to the MD. statute governing your question http://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2010/real-property/title-8/subtitle-2/8-211/
Basically, you cannot terminate the lease, but there are options including withholding of rent if the violation is considered a serious health violation. In addition, you may report your landlord to the local health department or housing authority.
It appears you have rated me poorly and left the conversation without a completed answer. Please let me know if you change your mind and would like the answer to your question. If so, I would be happy to help. If not, thanks anyhow and good luck to you.
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).