An abatement protects a renter from paying the full cost of rent if a property is unfit to live in. It’s a clause that may be included in an initial rental agreement or it may be added on later, as agreed upon by both the landlord and the tenant.
Here are three things to know about an abatement.
1. It only protects a tenant if they didn’t cause the damage
If a tenant causes damage to a rental property that makes it uninhabitable, an abatement won’t take effect. The damage must be something out of the tenant’s control.
For example, if a tenant kicks a water pipe and it breaks, causing a flood, an abatement won’t cover anything. But if the pipe breaks and causes a flood simply because it’s old and rusty, the tenant would be covered an abatement.
2. An abatement has no set time limit
An abatement generally lasts as long as a rental property is uninhabitable. Once the property is livable and the tenant is able to move back in, the abatement ends.
3. An abatement is not the same as renters insurance
While an abatement protects a renter from having to pay full rent in case a property is damaged, it may not cover any of the tenant’s personal belongings that were damaged.
Renters insurance is what covers personal belongings in case they’re damaged by a flood, fire or another similar incident.
Check your rental agreement
If you want to be sure you’ll be protected by an abatement, check your rental agreement. Some landlords will include an abatement clause in their lease contract, while others may not. If one isn’t included, you can always ask your landlord to add one.