Many tenants grow frustrated when a landlord does not make timely repairs, or when the conduct of neighbors interferes with the ability to live in an apartment.
The Implied Warranty of Habitability
We are all familiar with warranties. Most are in writing. In most states the Courts have held that Landlords make certain Implied Warranties. An Implied Warranty is not based on a written agreement, but rather on the nature of the transaction. One of the Implied Warranties given by landlords is that the apartment will be habitable
Courts limit habitability issues to serious problems. If the tenant does not clean the shower, the fact that it is dirty does not make the apartment not habitability. Here are some examples of what might make an apartment not habitable: no heat in the winter, no water, fire damage, no electricity, blocked fire doors or fire escapes, water leaking in from above, non-functional toilets, severe mold, structural deficiencies, insect infestation etc.
How is the Warranty Breached? (When can the Tenant Move out?)
Generally speaking, a breach of the Warranty of Habitability claim has three elements: 1) a defect that rises to the level of rendering the apartment uninhabitable, 2) notice give to the Landlord or the condition with a reasonable opportunity to fix or cure the problem, and 3) the failure of the landlord to act within a reasonable time.
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