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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116808
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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The home I am renting in WA was in a fire on 6/23/15 and is

Customer Question

The home I am renting in WA was in a fire on 6/23/15 and is now deemed unsafe by the county. Does the landlord have any responsibility to provide housing for me and my family? Also, does the landlord have the right to continue to ask for rent while the home is uninhabitable? I have livestock on the property. Rent was $1400/month for the house and the barn. Now the landlord still wants me to pay $1000/month for use of the property & barn, but he's not doing anything about providing housing for us. Is this legal?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If the premises is not habitable (your lease guarantees you a habitable premises) through no fault of your own, then your landlord has to either waive the rent for the time it is not habitable or pay for you to stay elsewhere or cancel the lease. The landlord cannot make you pay rent when their premises is not habitable through no fault of your own.
Now, if the fire was deemed the fault of the tenant, then the landlord can demand the tenant pay for the damages. Other than that the landlord has to 1) forgive the rent due while you cannot live there OR 2) pay for you to live elsewhere OR 3) terminate the lease.
If you are renting the barn, it seems that $1000 is a bit more than the worth of the barn and you need to check the reasonable rent rates for the barn and property without the house as the landlord would be entitled to that reasonable rent.

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