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Constructive eviction is a term used in the law of real property to describe a circumstance in which a landlord either does something or fails to do something that he has a legal duty to provide (e.g. the landlord refuses to provide heat or water to the apartment), rendering the property uninhabitable. A tenant who is constructively evicted may terminate the lease and seek damages.
To maintain an action for damages, the tenant must show that:
- the uninhabitable conditions (substantial interferences) were a result of the landlord's actions (not the actions of some third party) and
- that the tenant vacated the premises in a reasonable time.
A tenant who suffers from a constructive eviction can claim all of the legal remedies available to a tenant who was actually told to leave.