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Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 8775
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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Am I able to break my lease without penalty if the

Customer Question

Am I able to break my lease without penalty if the refrigerator is not working, but it was stated on my lease to have before my 30 days of residing at the property in Virginia?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: This is rental issue, and I stated in Virginia.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I only informed the landlord about the repairs, and let her know that I am not satisfied
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for using JA. I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 30 yrs., and I am here to help.

I appreciate your patience as I review your question. I will post my response shortly.

Be aware, however, this is general information and no attorney client relationship is established.

The site may ask you if you wish to speak by phone for an extra charge. While I am happy to speak to you, if you wish, I am also happy to continue online. So, there is no pressure to spend extra money.

Some people just prefer the speed of a phone call and that the information not be posted on the public forum.

Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

Did you give the landlord an opportunity to fix the broken fridge?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
it has been over 3 weeks. She sent out the contractor, but she said she has to wait on a part. But she can't tell me how much longer. It will be almost a month living without a fridge.
Expert:  Loren replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

While common law allows tenant to terminate a lease if the landlord fails in their maintenance obligations and it renders the premises unhabitable.

While a broken fridge is inconvenient, it does not render the premises unhabitable.

So, your remedy is to sue the landlord for breach of the lease. You can recover any damages you incur for spoiled foods and being forced to eat out, as well as other damages you can connect to the lost appliance.

If your damages do not exceed $5000, you can sue in small claims court. Small claims court is designed to be a "user friendly", simplified process, so that you can present a claim without an attorney. Also, it moves much more quickly than regular court. You can get the necessary forms to start from the clerk of the court.

I am sorry you can not terminate the lease. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I do not want to see you spinning your wheels on this.