Moose Meeks is renting a house from Dolores Dank. The house has several problems – often the water coming out of the taps is dark and smells bad, there are some weak spots in the floors, and one of the windows is broken, through no fault of Moose’s, so that wind and rain come in. Moose has phoned Dolores several times to complain about these problems, but several weeks have gone by and she hasn’t fixed them. Moose decides that he will abate his rent until the problems are fixed, and since he thinks that the house is uninhabitable, he deducts 100% of the rent. When Moose doesn’t pay his rent, Dolores gives him a 3-day notice to leave, and he reminds her that he is not paying rent until she repairs the problems in the house. Dolores brings action against Moose to evict him.
How should the judge rule?
- A. For Moose, because he was properly abating his rent.
- Sorry, but that's not the correct answer. Please select another.
- B. For Dolores, because Moose didn’t pay his rent.
- Yes, the correct answer is B. Moose could not abate his rent in this manner, even though the house had some serious issues. First of all, in order to abate his rent, Moose needed to give Dolores written notice detailing the repairs needed, which he did not do. Also, even if a house is uninhabitable (and it is debatable whether Moose’s rental house was uninhabitable), the tenant must be living elsewhere in order to deduct 100% from the rent.