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If my landlord still responsible for heat and hot water after hurricane sandy? he doesn't want to get the boiler fixed

Little Ferry, NJ |

we have been without heat or hot water since monday. we have called our landlord to have someone repair it and he said he wont do anything until he files an insurance claim. what can we do?

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Attorney answers 3


See pages 29 through 39 of the New Jersey tenants' rights handbook link above which contains a discussion of your rights in the situation you describe. It sounds to me like you are at the point where you need to contact the board of health as described in the handbook and have them come out and demand they make the repairs. If that doesn't work then you may consider withholding rent as long as the steps described in the handbook are followed. I would add however that I think in light of the very unfortunate circumstances that exist on the East Coast I think it is likely that the authorities are going to take a while to respond or are going to cut landlords a little slack under the circumstances. I understand the situation is uncomfortable but do your best to exercise a little patience. But start the process outlined in the handbook and see where that gets you. Good luck and I am sorry about what you have experienced.

I am not your lawyer and an answer on AVVO is not intended as legal advice but is provided for general informational purposes only. If you desire legal advice, please consult a lawyer and form an attorney client relationship.

Guy Irvin Wade III

Guy Irvin Wade III


I should also have added that you should check your lease to see what it says about a "force majeure". That is generally "an act of nature" which prevents performance of an obligation and excuses a failure to perform. But I'm not sure how that would affect what is apparently a statutory obligation in New Jersey to provide heat. So go ahead and contact the board of health as originally recommended but beware that "force majeure" may become an issue.


Good Evening,

I'm sorry about your situation. The problems your having with your apartment go directly to the apartment's habitability. When the habitability of an apartment are affected, you have a number of different options. These options range from withholding your rent, making repairs and deducted the cost from your rent, or declaring a constructive eviction and vacating. I recently put together a short legal guide about these options, listed in the legal guides under my profile. Feel free to look it over and contact me with any questions.

Best of luck with your situation.


Dear have been without heat?

I am an attorney licensed in New York. I do not practice law in New Jersey.

Unless your lease makes you responsible for repairs to the furnace, your landlord, is required to provide the essential services of heat and hot water. A willful failure to make repairs after having been given reasonable notice may subject your landlord to damages.

Make sure you obtain written confirmation from your landlord that the reason he will fail to provide basic services is waiting for insurance.

Read about the rights of New Jersey tenants for a habitable home at:

Your attorney may offer you individual guidance.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.



I am a tenant in a single family home in Warren NJ, power out, no water (we have a well) for 8 days now. Power not expected until friday nov 9th at the earliest. My landlord lives a half of mile away and has a generator. Does my landlord have an obligation to get me a generator? What are my rights? We've been using the fireplace but the back draft is so bad, house incredibly smokey and the fumes make me nauseas, I can't make anymore fires. Noreaster coming tomorrow its in the mid 20's at night, tons of trees on power lines in neighborhood that haven't been touched, I truly anticipate power restoration won't be until next week. Any advice would be so greatl appreciated, thank you!!!!! Dede Kotler

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens


Dear Dede Kotler: You should have the flue inspected as a bad draft is a sure sign something is wrong with the chimney vent flue system. Your landlord knows his legal responsibility. He chose not to fulfill his obligation to you. You have the resources at hand relating to New Jersey law so you know your landlord must provide essential services and cannot withhold essential services while waiting for insurance. You could make a complaint to your local code enforcement office. And you should make certain you have written proof that you complained to your landlord and he turned you down. Good luck.

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