Logan, UT asked in Landlord - Tenant for Utah

Q: Do my husband and I have the right to withhold rent from our landlord in this situation?

My husband and I currently live in a townhome complex, and have been smelling our neighbors second-hand weed for some time now. It took us a little while to figure out what it was. The smell was mainly coming through our vents, and was confirmed to be weed by the vent repair guy, who also confirmed that it was our suspected neighbors who were responsible. I am also nearing the end of my first trimester of pregnancy, and second hand weed is known to cause stillborn birth and other growth defects in babies, so I am very uncomfortable in the current living situation. We informed management right away, but they would not do anything about it. We have found another place and would like to move into it ASAP, because our current living situation in not healthy for me or the baby. Per our contract with our current complex, we have to provide them with a 30-day notice that we will be leaving. My question is, can we legally leave early and not pay rent after we leave?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kenneth Prigmore
Kenneth Prigmore
  • Spanish Fork, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: Your safety is going to always be a priority in these matters. If you can prove you gave the landlord sufficient notice of the problem, either by email or text or written notice, then you have something you can give a judge if they sue you for breach of contract.

Contracts will normally define things like how much notice is necessary, but the state is always concerned about minimum health and safety. If the landlord has chosen not to correct a real danger to your safety, you will have a good case to make that the Landlord has breached the contract and you are no longer required to make payments.

Please keep in mind that if your situation does not perfectly match the contract, (in this case the 30 day requirement), there is a possibility that you may be sued and forced to prove to the court the breach in contract by the Landlord.

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