Question

On June 1, 2003, James Welsch, as owner, entered into to a written agreement with Michael Groat, as tenant, for a one-year lease of a single-family residence located in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, at a monthly rent of $1,500 due on the first day of each month. At the execution of the lease, Groat paid the June rental of $1,500 and a security deposit of $3,000. He made an additional payment of $1,500 for a total of $6,000, but ended up only occupying the premises for three months. When Groat began occupancy along with his children, he discovered leaks and water damage in the basement of the premises. In early July, Groat advised Welsch that, in addition to water damage and the presence of mold and mildew, the premises contained many other deficiencies. Groat had intended to use a basement room as a bedroom for his children, but the water damage made such use impossible.
In response to Groat's notification of the poor condition of the premises, Welsch's attorney referred Groat to section 12 of the lease he had signed which stated he had inspected the premises and accepted them as he found them. By letter dated August 1, 2003, Groat outlined the defects in the premises including gutters clogged, spilling over; driveway severely cracked and crumbling; side storm door falling apart, missing screen; front storm door pump broken, missing screen; faucet leaks from stem when on; oven temperature gauge off; sink drain does not work; tub drain does not work; cold water handle is stripped; water ends up on basement floor; small bedroom closet door does not clear carpet; large bedroom entry door does not close; basement is constantly wet; there are puddles when it rains and a constant wet slime along the east wall; the paneling and trim is badly rotted, obviously a longterm problem; paint is peeling from concrete walls; latex floor is bubbling and peeling from wetness; only one basement window is operational; there are significant mold and mildew issues with the entire basement, especially the finished living area. Groat moved out in August. On October 11, 2003, Welsch brought an action against Groat for breach of the lease. Groat filed a counterclaim claiming, among other things, constructive eviction. Did the conditions at the house and the landlord's failure to make the necessary repairs in a timely fashion constitute a breach of the lease and justify termination of the lease on the grounds of constructive eviction?



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  • CreatedJuly 16, 2014
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