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Breaking lease on discovery of illegal apartment

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Washington, DC

Hi. My wife and I are renting a basement apartment that flooded two weeks ago due to all the rains. In the conversation with my landlord about whether or not he would replace the carpet, he told me that the apartment wasn't legal, due to ceiling hieght and the width of the door and other things. Now he has offered to replace the carpet, but I am hesitant about staying. Now that I know apartment isn't legal (I had no idea before) do I loose any rights as a tenant? Do I have the right to break my lease and get my security deposit back?

Thank you


Junior Member
I went through this out here in NJ and what happens is that the courts didnt care that it was an illegal apartment or not you still have to pay your rent. And security deposit got treated the same. The person who deals with the illegal apartment issue is the town inspectors and that is a different court. The landlord is subject to fines and may be forced to pay you back 6 months in back rent but in order to get that the town has to make you leave because it is an illegal apartment. And you need the proof that you paid for the last six months. Dont try to cheat the landlord just tell him that you would like to leave because it is an illegal apartment and do not want to be subject to the laws and have no time to find an apartment.

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