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Situation: I am currently unemployed, and accepted a job…

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Situation: I am currently...

Situation: I am currently unemployed, and accepted a job offer out of state. I had to quit my job for medical reasons. The lease would expire 9/15/18, but we would need to leave by the end of April. I notified the landlord about the situation (sans my unemployment status and medical situation), to offer full pay of the lease, but if he would be willing to settle for less, that I would appreciate this as well. Monthly rent is $2070.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

Background: Shortly after moving into this home, I detected a musty odor, and had air sampling and mold inspection done at my expense. While there were/are no visual indications of mold, or recent water damage, the readings inside the home were elevated. I put the landlord on notice, and we followed the steps outlined by the inspector. Ducts were scoped, and cleaned, and mold was found within the ducts. A UV lamp was placed. I purchased equipment for $1600 at my own expense, in order to control the humidity in the house, as well as getting the air purified. I have autoimmune disease, and my son has asthma. The winter came, and we were fine. With spring coming around, the odor flared back up. I had the air re-tested, and sure enough, the reading for Aspergillus and Penicillium were still elevated in the same spot as during previous measurements, despite painstaking humidity control, and cleanliness. I submitted the report to the landlord, including the comments by the inspector, and paid out of pocket for the follow-up testing. I proposed to the landlord that it would be a good opportunity for him to do a more thorough remediation this time since we will be moving out. I did not hear back from him on either the settlement, or the persistent mold issue. We live in GA. I am not sure how to proceed from here in a smart way.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a Georgia lawyer about this?

Not yet. I was looking for one online, when I came across your site.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

That's it. Thank you so much!

Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
4/3/2018
Real Estate Lawyer: Richard, Lawyer replied 3 months ago
Richard
Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 57,035
Experience: 32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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Hi! My name is Richard & I will be helping you today! It will take me a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

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Real Estate Lawyer: Richard, Lawyer replied 3 months ago

Good morning. First, I would not pay the landlord anything as it's the landlord who has the problem here. With every rental comes the implied warranty of habitability, which includes the right to the safe, healthy, peaceful and quiet enjoyment of your rented premises. Given your facts, you are clearly not being afforded such enjoyment of your premises….and therefore the landlord is breaching the implied warranty of habitability. This puts the landlord in default. I would suggest you inform the landlord of the foregoing and that you are terminating your lease due to this default effective as of a specified date. Demand that your security deposit be refunded in full and let him know if he fails to return it, you will be filing suit to not only recover the deposit, but also punitive damages due to his withholding it in good faith as well as other costs you have incurred due to the problem.

You should also know that even had you not had any issues and were simply terminating due to your move, you still would not be liable for the entire remaining rent because the landlord has a legal duty to mitigate. What that means is that even if you may not have the right to terminate your lease, once you notify the landlord you are terminating, the landlord has a legal affirmative duty to mitigate the damages by using reasonable efforts to re-lease the property. Once the property is re-leased, or if the landlord does not use reasonable efforts to re-lease, you would then be off the hook for further obligation. Given the current positive lease market, it is unlikely a judge is going to rule a landlord has satisfied the burden of using reasonable efforts to mitigate if the property is not re-leased within at least 2 months....so it's unlikely that a court would hold you responsible beyond the 2 months.

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your question. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as Good or Excellent (i.e., 4 or 5 stars)(hopefully Excellent/5 stars!). Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

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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).

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