Hammie v. Reddick
A court can find that no rent is owed for premises that are not inhabitable, because there is no smoke detector. The plaintiff landlord sued the defendant tenant, Lakei Reddick, alleging that the tenant breached the lease and failed to pay rent between November 2007 and March 2008. Allegedly, the tenant complained repeatedly about mice and the landlord provided the tenant brillo to place in holes and a spray, to help combat the mice infestation. The tenant placed her 14-year-old child in charge of locating and throwing away the mice. The court observed that a rodent infestation constitutes a basis to find that premises are not inhabitable. The tenant also claimed that there was no smoke detector and that light switches and outlets were not covered. Failure to install smoke detectors and to cover light sockets, wrote the court, would make an apartment uninhabitable and unfit for occupation. The court discounted the tenant's claim that a hole in the floor or the deck existed where she exited the back hallway. The property manager's son claimed that he repaired the hole in the deck. Although this was inconvenient, it did not prevent the tenant and her family from safely entering and exiting the apartment. The court found that the apartment was not habitable, and it denied the landlord's claims for unpaid rent and entered judgment for the tenant.