Many tenants who contact our office complain of vermin and other matters that are dangerous to life or health. Section 80, subdivision 1, of the Multiple Dwelling Law, states:‘The owner shall keep all and every part of a multiple dwelling … clean and free from Vermin, dirt, filth, garbage or other thing or matter dangerous to life or health.’ In rare instances a tenant will sign a lease and take possession of their rental only to find that the premises has an vermin or pest infestation tantamount to a constructive eviction. The Court’s hold that in such events the landlord is deemed to be in breach of the lease, which voids the tenant’s obligated to take possession of the apartment, rescinds the lease and entitles the return of the tenant’s security deposit. The Courts will not refund the rent paid while the tenant occupied the premises, but the tenant does not need to suffer under dangerous conditions that landlord permitted and remain liable for the remainder of the lease term.
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