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What is an Implied Warranty of Habitability
Implied Warranty of Habitability refers to an implied guarantee that a rental property will meet basic safety and living standards prior to occupation, and continue to do so for the remainder of the occupancy. This warranty applies only to residential property rentals and not commercial properties. Commercial properties have no tenants. This warranty is implied even if it is not stated in writing in the lease.
How an Implied Warranty for Habitability Works
The standards that rental units must adhere to are set out in local building codes. An implied warranty of habitability is a guarantee that the landlord has given:
Get water to drink
Cold weather can bring heat
Adequate ventilating system
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Toilet and bathroom in a working bathroom
Advantages and disadvantages
A tenant is not responsible for making sure that the warranty of habitability has been fulfilled. This is a major advantage. It is the legal responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the warranty is respected and to make habitability possible as soon after they become aware of any problems. Tenants who live in uninhabitable rental units are known as slumlords. They can sue the landlord to reduce their rent or withhold rent until repairs are done. This does not mean that the landlord is not paying rent. The rent money should be deposited in an escrow account and paid to the appropriate bank. The tenant must countersue the landlord for breaching the warranty of habitability if the landlord is sued for nonpayment.
There are many other legalities that you should consider. The warranty may be violated if you rent an apartment or place to live in without knowing the facts. You cannot, therefore, rent an apartment without hot water in order to save some money and then sue the landlord. The landlord has a reasonable amount of time to fix or resolve any problems. This is generally no longer than 30 days. Tenants must pay rent even if they live on the premises as per the warranty.