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Short Legal Cases

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Case 49 #4: The Concerns of Sarah
Issue: Sarah rented a house from Franks. Every time it rains, the roof leaks, causing plaster to fall from the upstairs bedroom ceilings. One ceiling is beginning to sag. Sarah has complained about the roof leaks to Franks and Franks told Sarah he has caulked the roof, however the roof still leaks. Sarah feels it is Franks’ responsibility to repair the roof; Franks believes since Sarah has sole control of the leased premises, she has the duty to repair the roof.

Legal Application: Constructive eviction, maintaining the premises, implied warranty of habitability, and application of the warranty.

Resolution: There are four remedies available to Sarah. Sarah can withhold rental payments, repair the property herself and deduct that amount from her rent (provided that doing so is in conformity with state and local laws), cancel the lease, or sue for damages. Additionally, Franks would be liable for any injuries caused from defects on the property.

Case 49 #5a: Lease Assignment
Issue: I am a college student and plan to attend classes for nine months. I signed a twelve-month apartment lease and paid a $150 security deposit. School is now over for the year and I have a summer job back home. I want to assign the balance of my lease, which is three months, to a fellow student who is going to attend summer school.

Legal Application: It depends on what the original lease states; does it allow for a sublease or assignment? In any event, I must have the landlord’s consent to the sublease, also called an assignment. A clause that requires the landlord’s consent to the assignment is called a forfeiture restraint. This allows the landlord to terminate the tenancy if I attempted to assign the lease without his consent. The same rules and lease terms also apply to a sublessee.

Resolution: The most likely resolution of the...

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