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.
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.
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: