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jobro1027

Is there any way we can legally leave?

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So this is a little long of a story - back in May, a group of us signed our lease with a landlord, and we've had quite a few problems since.  There are 5 of us, my SO and I in the basement, and the other three all upstairs.  My SO and I are extremely frustrated with the circumstances, since we pay 2/5 of the rent and live in the worst conditions in the house - the basement has flooded a multitude of times, once a pipe burst in the main part of the basement, the landlords came to fix it.  Another time, the furnace flooded part of the common area of the basement, and they came to fix it later that day.  We've since had flooding in the spare room that we were using as an office space, to the point that we had to empty out most of the room and there constantly two large puddles in the room.  Our roommate has been the primary contact between the landlord and the tenants, and she notified them a month ago of the issue, but nothing has been done.  When I recently asked her about it again, she said that it was up to us if we wanted it fixed, because the landlord said they would have to tear out our shower from the bathroom we have in the basement.

 

On top of the flooding, we believe there is mold growing in the walls of the basement, since we have both experienced a severe decrease in our health since moving in, but we haven't had the money to go see a doctor because 3/4 of our income is going towards the rent and utilities for this basement.

 

We also recently discovered that the roommate who has been doing the primary communication with the landlord, the roommate who gives them the rent every month, has paid them in cash every month since May, and has not received any sort of receipt for the payments.  This is on the roommate, but now, technically couldn't the landlord just argue that we haven't been paying any rent at all, and evict everyone if they wanted to?  I've looked up as much as I possibly could on landlord and tenant laws in Michigan, but everything has made our situation look pretty bleak.  Is there anything that isn't found as easily, anything that could possibly help in this situation? Thank you for your help!

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Hi @jobro1027

 

Welcome to the community and thanks for posting! Sorry to hear about your situation, that sounds really stressful. Regarding your roommates, you decide between the 5 of you how much you are each going to contribute in rent, so if you feel that your space is worth less than the upstairs rooms (and you should thus be paying a lower share of the rent), that is something you should discuss with your other roommates, not your landlord. If you have concerns that your roommate is pocketing your rent money, you and your significant other should consider paying your portion of the rent directly to your landlord. You are absolutely correct that the landlord may evict you all if your roommate does not make the payments (even though you gave your share to the roommate).

 

Regarding getting out of the lease, your best bet may be the mold issue, which is a health/safety/habitability concern. Check out these resources about breaking your lease:

 

Best of luck!

The FindLaw.com Team

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