A. If contrary to the rental agreement or provisions of this chapter the landlord willfully or negligently fails to supply heat, running water, hot water, electricity, gas or other essential service, the tenant must serve a written notice on the landlord specifying the breach, if acting under this section and, in such event, and after a reasonable time allowed the landlord to correct such breach, may:
2. Procure reasonable substitute housing during the period of the landlord’s noncompliance, in which case the tenant is excused from paying rent for the period of the landlord’s noncompliance, as determined by the court.
B. If the tenant proceeds under this section, he shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees; however, he may not proceed under § 55-248.21 as to that breach. The rights of the tenant under this section shall not arise until he has given written notice to the landlord; however, no rights arise if the condition was caused by the deliberate or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of his family or other person on the premises with his consent.
1974, c. 680; 1982, c. 260; 2000, c. 760.