Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Virginia

Urgent Advice Needed - Roach-Filled Rental Apt !

Our first day at the apartment,we were greeted with live and dead roaches. Our lease agreement is based on a month-to-month and so far we've pre-paid for the month of Dec.2002 and also included a security deposit.Due to a fear of possible roach-transmitted diseases, we've decided to vacate the place ASAP.And with a 18-month old baby,we cannot afford to compromise his health. However,I understand we've already signed a lease agreement and I need to know if I've the right to demand for the return of my pre-paid rent w/security deposit base on grounds of ''un-tenable or unhabitable conditions'' ?? And should we leave the dead roaches as they are as evidence? Please advise ASAP so we know what to do now.Thank you very much!

Asked on 12/01/02, 6:06 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael E. Hendrickson Attorney & Counsellor at Law
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Re: Urgent Advice Needed - Roach-Filled Rental Apt !

Draw your demand letter to the landlord as you've suggested. Conclude the letter with words to the effect that you consider that this situation amounts to a "constructive eviction".

Under the conditions of a constructive eviction, whether your lease is governed by the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act (VRLTA)or not, the

tenant will always be entitled to the return of the security deposit as well as any rent already paid for the month in which the constructive eviction occurs, among other things. However, you must understand, that what you are legally entitled to and what you may actually get, can be two different things.

And yes, I'd leave the obnoxious little critters lying as they are.(Or take pictures at the very least, developed in an 8 x 10" format, if possible.)

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Answered on 12/01/02, 11:12 am

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