Gary, IN asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts, Energy, Oil and Gas and Environmental for Indiana

Q: Hot water heater leaking gas (14% concentration) per NIPSCO. Gas company turned it off on June 21.

Land lord was notified via text message on the 21th. Promised to have someone fix it. It has not been done as of 7/6/19 nor has she responded to my text I sent 1 week ago asking about the status of the repairs. I have not had any hot water in my home since 6/21. I have rented a hotel room once a week since just so my family could shower. That’s not’s been way to hot for weekly showers. Plus the garage is half standing, burned and filled with god knows what. It’s literally a magnet for criminals to hide or dump things. I can tell someone has been in their recently as the door was left open. The city of Gary mark it DBR. When I signed the lease, they promised that it would be torn down. that was 8 months ago. Overall... I’m just disgusted at this point and want to know If any of this allows me to break this lease.

1 Lawyer Answer

A: While your written lease terms will control this unusual situation==generally speaking--landlords are responsible to make sure that their leased property is suitable for living; and tenants do not have to remain in structures that are not in livable condition. Absent some unforeseen issues, IMO, landlords are required to provide basic human necessities, like hot and cold running water. And in this case--involving public safety--you are on solid ground to break the lease.

I would advise you to try to get some statement about the place not being habitable until the gas leak is repaired, from the city or county government.

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