Is this grounds for breaking a lease?

My b/f and I moved into (what we thought) was a great 2-bedroom apt on Oct. 31 of last year. In these past 3 months, there have been 2 major sump pump blowouts, causing our back water heater closet to fill up with raw sewage and leak out into the whole hallway. The first time was bad, this time is is WORSE. They came to “sanitize” the carpet, then after prodding them, they have now agreed to replace the padding under the carpet (as sewer water cannot be simply cleaned). So, our whole house has smelled like sewage, and now it smells musty. I guess this concerns me so much because I am 3 months pregnant as well, and walking in and breathing in raw sewage cannot be good.

Is this grounds for breaking a lease?

You can break a lease for any reasion you want. Whether you can do it cleanly or have it winding up costing you money (lose your security deposit, pay 2 months rent penalty, etc) is another issue.

You probably have a case to break the lease cleanly, since the sump pump is a recurring problem, and it poses potential health risks to you and the BF, as well as the baby. I’d give notice that you intend to break the lease on account of the problems, and that you expect your full security deposit back. If the landlord puts up a fuss and refuses, see if your local housing authority has any jurisdiction and get them involved.

Good luck.

One of my friends was in a very similar situation. His roof had gone from “leaky” to “poury” to “rotting waterfall” over the course of several months, months in which is landlord refused to do anything. He wound up having to get the place condemned by the local authorities.

Ew. You have poo in your carpet.

I don’t know how easy it’ll be to break your lease, but there may be ways to get new carpet. I was a property manager in Florida for four years. Once I had an apartment with a “black water” backup and the company I worked for had to pull up all the carpet and padding and replace it. We also had to treat and seal the foundation to keep from having future problems.

Check your state’s landlord-tenant laws. It may or may not specifically be covered. You can also check with your local code enforcement office to see what they have to say. Your state should also have a branch of the health department that does inspections, imposes penalties for violations, and makes sure everything is safe.

It can’t hurt to do some research on health problems related to sewage, just to have something to back you up. If the manager/owner refuses to replace the carpet, too, don’t give up. Go to their supervisors! Go to the health department, code enforcement, state professional regulatory boards and make a lot of noise.

Good luck to you! Congrats on the baby!