An In-Depth Look At The Implied Warranty of Habitability

Implied Warranty of Habitability – This is a guarantee that the law implies that every residential lease states the property is fit to be lived in by humans and will stay as such through the lease’s duration. Therefore you as a landlord,  should ensure that your rental property is a safe dwelling place for any tenants. But there are many factors that will determine habitability. You need to know if there are any known hazards such as lead paint or carbon monoxide leak problems. Also make sure if all the fixtures are working properly inside the property.

7 Conditions That Violate It

There are several conditions that violate this law-implied warranty but it varies based on the state and jurisdiction where the property is located. A landlord is in violation of this warranty if he/she does not provide the following on the property:

1 – Hot water, drinking water
2 – Heat during the cold months
3 – Electricity
4 – Smoke detector
5 – Working bathroom/toilet
6 – Sanitary property – removal of infestation of rats and insects
7 – Building code violations

The tenant, if they are reason for the inhabitable condition, must pay for the repairs.

What Kind Of Leases Is The Implied Warranty Of Habitability Applied To?

This warranty is only applied to the leases of residences, not commercial property. It typically applies to houses, apartments or any other property rented to live in. It typically does not apply to condos however.

Can It Be Waived?

For the most part, this warranty of habitability is not waivable and the court can void any lease provisions that are inconsistent with the right for a habitable premise. Thus, renting an “as is” apartment can violate this implied warranty of habitability.

Uninhabitable Conditions Exist: What To Do?

Once you notice any uninhabitable condition, contact your landlord right away and request that it be fixed. Your landlord will have a “reasonable amount of time” to make the property habitable once more – usually up to 30 days. Of course, this depends on what the defect is such as heat in cold weather.

What Can Tenants Do If Landlord Fails To Do Any Repairs

There are at least four things a tenant may do if the landlord fails to make repairs to the property to make it habitable again such as:

1 - Terminate The Lease – If reasonable time has passed, the tenant can break the lease and move out.
2 - Fix and Subtract – The tenants may do the repairs him/herself and subtract the costs from the next month’s rent. The cost to repair may not exceed the one month of rent to use this option.
3 - Sue For Damages – A tenant can take the landlord to court and sue; however, only from the date he/she notified the landlord of the damage.
4 - Sue To Make The Landlord Do The Repairs – A tenant can attain a court order to make their landlord make those repairs. Courts, however, are not as likely to go with this option since it includes pricey court supervision to make sure those repairs have been made.

Now, so long as you stay on the premises, you may not stop paying your landlord rent.