Real Estate Law
Have Real Estate Law Questions? Ask a Real Estate Lawyer.
Good afternoon. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.
Have you asked the landlord about the mold company's recommendation?
Thank you for the additional information.
There is currently no federal law covering a landlord's responsibilities when it comes to mold. Also, Michigan doesn’t have any laws that specifically address a landlord’s duties or liability when it comes to mold prevention and remediation.
However, every lease carries the warranty of habitability and the presence of mold may be a violation of that warranty which would allow you to either withhold rent and/or repair and deduct. You would need to pay the rent into an escrow account during that period.
To start, you would want to contact the local health and building departments in your town to ask that they send out an inspector to determine if the mold you have found renders the premises unfit.
Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question?
You can also sue the landlord directly for breaching the lease. If the claim does not exceed $5500 you can sue in small claims court. Small claims court is designed to be "user friendly" 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.
You would want to make a demand on the landlord to return your money and terminate the lease. If he refuses then you would sue the landlord in small claims court.
If the landlord is refusing to make necessary repairs and it is interfering with the use and habitability of the leased premises then you can sue for breach. In the course of the suit you may be able to leverage an early termination with the return of all deposits.
A riskier way is to move out now and declare the lease terminated due to "constructive eviction". In other words, the action or inaction of the landlord has made the premises unhabitable and you are forced to move out.
You still have to sue and the risk is that the court finds the premises WAS habitable and you end up being liable for breach.
Make sure you have a written record of the damages and your request for repairs.
If you have no further questions, and have not yet done so, please remember to leave a favorable rating (click 5 stars in the rating section on this page) so that I am credited by JustAnswer for assisting you. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.
Thank you for following up.
You may have the right to either rent and deduct the cost from the rent or withhold rent until the repair is made. You need to give notice of the need to repair and your intent to exercise either of those options. Here is is a link to a publication which provides templates for the notices (see p. 44) and instructions as far as setting up an escrow account to pay the rent:
If the landlord does not do anything, get a few estimates and then make a demand for repair.
Did you have further questions before you rate my service to you?