Breach of implied warranty of habitability

I am defending an individual who owned a house that he rented to a family of four.  Before he rented this house he had the property professionally cleaned and painted.  When he inspected the property before he leased it, he confirmed it was fit for occupation and did not have any conditions that rendered it uninhabitable.  The family initially had a  one year lease but kept renewing the lease and eventually stayed in the property for about four years.  After they moved out they sued by client claiming the property he leased was not habitable and they wanted $500,000 for their emotional upset.

The issue is what duty does a landlord owe to his or her tenants.  The elements of a cause of action for breach of the implied warranty of habitability “are the existence of a material defective condition affecting the premises’ habitability, notice to the landlord of the condition within a reasonable time after the tenant’s discovery of the condition, the landlord was given a reasonable time to correct the deficiency, and resulting damages.”  Once the landlord knows about a condition that renders the property uninhabitable, he or she must act promptly to provide proper maintenance.

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