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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27621
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I have an apartment and I am under a lease. recently our

Customer Question

i have an apartment and I am under a lease. recently our bathroom was filled with sewage due to failure in the pipes. The will not fix this problem and it has caused the bathroom sink to rot and mold is created My household got sick due to that. can I
terminate my lease for unsafe living conditions? Our light ceiling light randomly fell while dining, and our backyard's fence has been down for the last two months.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Oregon law requires all landlord to maintain rental premises in a fit and habitable condition. Ore. Rev. Stat., Section 90.320. The absence of a back fence would not be enough to cancel the lease on its own, but you do have a right to live in a property that has working toilets and no mold. The statute specifically requires that plumbing fixtures be maintained in good working order. The statute also requires that electrical lighting be maintained in good working order, so lights shouldn't fall from the ceiling and need to be replaced if they do.

When a landlord violates that obligation related to an essential service, the tenant has a right to serve the landlord with a written notice given the landlord 7 days to fix the problem, or the lease will terminate in 30 days. Ore. Rev. Stat., Section 90.360. Working toilets and plumbing are an essential service. The light fixture is not - and probably is not enough on its own to justify terminating the lease (unless you have exposed wires hanging down or something). The notice is extremely important, because if you do not serve the landlord with written notice that you plan to move due to violation of the law, then you'll be found to have broken the lease and could be required to pay rent until a new tenant is found. If the landlord makes the repairs within 7 days, then the lease will remain in effect.

Also, if the toilet presents a recurring problem within 6 months after you give that notice, then you can give 14 days written notice and vacate. You just need to have all of the necessary documentation to protect yourself if the landlord tries to sue.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the ceiling light fixture is exposed by hanging wires, and it has been more than 7 days, the maintenace people that were in charge of cleaning said that everything that the sewage touched needed to be gone and they said no, that they just wanted a bigger paycheck.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

That's awful.

The seven days doesn't start to run until you deliver written notice to the landlord, specifically stating that you are going to terminate the lease within 30 days if they do not make the repairs within the next 7 days. That's the language a tenant needs to use to trigger the right to break the lease under the statute.